Electrical Conductivity Testing

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Seed Program Electrical Conductivity Testing

For more information, contact program staff, or call (509) 249-6950.

Electrical Conductivity Testing Printable Factsheet [pdf]

WSDA Seed Program now offers electrical conductivity seed testing!

The Washington State Department of Agriculture's (WSDA) Seed Program laboratory in Yakima now offers the electrical conductivity (EC) test to further measure seed quality and vigor. Seed vigor relates to the health and viability of seed which have a direct correlation to the field emergence potential of a seed lot.

Seed Lots that germinated well may still have poor field production.  This can be especially true for seed lots exposed to conditions such as:
  • Mechanical damage from late harvest.
  • Rain damaged crops.
  • Frost at harvest.
  • Held in storage (e.g. older lots).

Why an EC test?

The EC test measures the condition of the seed's cell membranes. Low quality seeds have poor membrane structure that allows electrolytes such as amino acids and inorganic ions to leak through. These compounds are necessary for seedlings to develop and emerge rapidly. High quality seeds contain their nutrients within their membranes.

Therefore, seeds with higher conductivity measurements reveal electrolyte leakage and lower quality. This damage may be microscopic and not visible to the human eye. But the seed may not be sound and lack sufficient vigor. Knowing the vigor of a seed lot allows for proper marketing and planting decisions.

The EC test is recommended for

Many large-seeded legumes such as:

  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Peas
The EC test costs
  • $48 - which includes a moisture test
How to ship for testing
  • Test samples must weigh at least 3 pounds and be shipped in a moisture-proof container.


Other Considerations

  • For making planting decisions, it's useful to combine the EC test with a standard germination test.

What you receive

  • A laboratory analysis report including the moisture content and the EC results (e.g. 12.5% moisture content, EC value of 24 = high vigor)

Contact for test