There are some things in life we all take for granted, just like night follows day.
Entry into the seed certification scheme is one such thing we have been led to believe that farmers are taking for granted.
Feedback we've had from AsureQuality is farmers aren't entering their crops into the certification scheme on time or with all the correct documentation. This is causing headaches for AsureQuality and their administration of the seed certification scheme, but more widely bringing into question traceability in the seed certification scheme.
AsureQuality do have some recompense to encourage farmers to comply with the requirements of the certification scheme by rejecting their application or charging late fees.
Charging farmers late fees does not seem to be encouraging farmers to get entries in on time, with 25 per cent of entries in 2018 charged a late fee for incomplete or late entries. That is a substantial donation to AsureQuality farmers are needlessly undertaking.
Thanks to some recent seed-related biosecurity incursion responses (velvetleaf, pea weevil and blackgrass), the attention of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and our overseas trading partners is shining brightly on the New Zealand seed industry.
As the competent authority for official certification, MPI is taking a closer look at practices and processes in the industry and applying the letter of the law to certain processes. This means there are changes taking place to ensure growers and seed companies are fulfilling their obligations to the seed certification scheme.
AsureQuality are introducing a new grower application form which requires full and up-to-date information on paddock histories, farm plans, an actual date of sowing and completing a registration of participation page. They also advise they will be charging a late fee on any incomplete applications (this includes those without labels).
At Federated Farmers' insistence, AsureQuality will be holding a grower information session in Methven on Wednesday, June 5. The purpose of the meeting is to update growers on these new processes and requirements of the seed certification scheme.
Federated Farmers encourages all growers to attend this meeting at the Methven Heritage Centre, 160 Main St in Methven.
• Philippa Rawlinson is an arable industry adviser for Federated Farmers