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By Steven Voser

Cannabis Seed Quality Control

Cannabis Seed Quality Control


Each cannabis seed holds the life of a new cannabis plant. And while cannabis grows and reproduces perfectly on its own out in nature, seed banks like ours dedicate themselves to harnessing and crossing the particular traits of different cannabis plants to give growers access to more refined, stable, and uniform seeds.

At RQS, we take our work as a seed company extremely seriously. We believe that cannabis cultivators, just like regular farmers and gardeners, deserve access to reliable, stable genetics to ensure a healthy crop and quality harvests. Besides breeding evermore refined cannabis strains, one way we help to make this a reality for cannabis growers is through the use of strict quality control measures.

In what follows, we take a look at cannabis seed quality control, what it involves, and how we use a unique five-step process to ensure all of our seeds are of the highest possible quality.

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Seed Vigour: What Does It Mean and Why Is It Important?

The vigour of a particular seed refers to how effectively it sprouts, and the health of the seedling it produces. Seeds with high vigour should sprout easily and quickly, producing strong seedlings with healthy roots and plenty of growing power. Etiolation (long, weak stems) and slow, stagnant growth are signs of low-vigour seeds.

Measuring seed vigour is extremely important, and indeed, it already plays a crucial role in agriculture. In doing so, farmers are able to continually create plants that quickly establish uniform, robust seedlings and become strong yielders. Unfortunately, the cannabis industry is still playing catch-up in this area, given the plant's historically illicit nature.

Quality Control: How Can Cannabis Seed Companies Ensure the Quality of Their Seeds?

Seed quality control refers to the processes companies use to ensure the viability of their seeds. While each company has its own approach to quality control, most focus on testing the following:

✔️ The germination rate of their seed batches (i.e. how many seeds germinate effectively)
✔️ The germination timeline of each batch (i.e. how long it takes for the seeds to germinate)
✔️ The strength of the seedlings and their resilience to pests and diseases
✔️ The uniformity of the plants once they exit the seedling phase

In a nutshell, seed companies measure the aforementioned variables to provide seeds that are genetically stable, free from seed-borne diseases, weed seeds, and pests, and that display exceptional growing vigour.

Again, due to the almost 100-year-long criminalisation of cannabis, the industry is still lagging behind the mainstream agricultural sector when it comes to seed quality control. Nonetheless, cannabis seed companies like us, and a select few others, are constantly working to close the gap and offer cannabis seeds of the same vigour and quality as other legal crops.

At RQS, in particular, we employ strict quality control measures to test all of our seed batches (find a full description of our quality control process below). Through following this process and constantly refining it, we hope to:

✔️ Ensure the genetic purity and uniformity of our strains
✔️ Ensure our strains are resilient to adverse growing conditions, pests, and pathogens
✔️ Produce evermore viable and vigorous seeds
✔️ Continue to produce high-yielding strains

Royal Queen Seeds Quality Control Process: Step by Step

While many cannabis seed companies claim to test their seeds, the actual processes they use, and the stringency of their measures, can vary greatly from one manufacturer to another.

Below, we'll outline our unique five-step quality control process. We use this process to test every batch of seeds prior to sale, guaranteeing the highest-quality end product and full transparency. We firmly believe that this stringent process is what helps us to maintain and continually win over new customers.

Step 1: Cleaning

The first step in our quality control process involves cleaning our harvested and dried cannabis seeds. Our experts use air-cleaning equipment to separate any plant debris (small leaves, stems, and seed husks) and empty, broken, or dead seeds from the seed lot. In our experience, this type of equipment produces the best results and helps to simplify the rest of the quality control process.

Royal Queen Seeds Quality Control Process: Step by Step

Step 2: Size Classification

After our cannabis seeds have been cleaned, they are classified according to their size. At RQS, we use a system of six sieves to size our seeds and guarantee a consistent end product with uniform germination rates and plant growth. Sizing seeds also helps us catch low-quality seeds early on in our process, so only the highest-quality seeds make it onto the shelves.

Royal Queen Seeds Quality Control Process: Step by Step

Step 3: Seed Coating (Professional Market)

Seed coating is a specialised process aimed at our professional market. Using specialised equipment, our seeds are sprayed with a fine layer of micronutrients, phytoactive compounds, and antifungal agents to preserve them in their packaging and ensure the highest possible germination rate. We also use organic colouring in our seed coating to clearly distinguish the treated from the untreated seeds.

Royal Queen Seeds Quality Control Process: Step by Step

Step 4: Drying (Professional Market)

Once coated, our seeds need to be dried. We do this in a highly controlled environment using a specialised ventilation system that exposes our treated seeds to airflow at a consistent temperature. Again, this helps to preserve the health of our seeds and ensure the best possible germination rate.

Royal Queen Seeds Quality Control Process: Step by Step

Step 5: Germination Testing

The fifth and final step of our quality control process is germination testing. Here, we take a sample of seeds from each batch and test their germination rate and timeline. This allows for further consistency and transparency before packaging and shipping seeds to our customers.

Royal Queen Seeds Quality Control Process: Step by Step

Ensuring Cannabis Seed Quality Today and in the Future

Cannabis is a hardy plant that grows in all kinds of conditions around the world. And while underground breeders and growers have long been working to preserve the genetic purity and quality of their strains, we think cannabis seed quality has never been as important, and achievable, as it is today. As governments change their stance on the herb, leaders in the cannabis space are paving the way for a legal, regulated industry in which quality, vigorous seeds serve as a strong foundation.

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