Seed quality is of highest importance, and germination is the most prominent key factor in seed quality. Frequently, seeds are placed on moist paper to assess germination, and many seed testing guidelines, e.g. ISTA rules, recommend top-of-paper tests for certain seed testing situations.
The testing procedure as such – seed incubation temperatures and duration – is independent of the imaging. The digital image-based assessment presents a new type of tool for the rating procedure. Instead of counting the germinated seeds through an operator who takes notes and feeds data into a computer, the image processing software counts the germination frequency from the images. In this process the germination events are not only counted, but the seedlings are measured in the same time, resulting in parameters such as root- and shoot-length. Thus, the operator gains more information compared to a visual counting, and saves time, because image recording and image processing is less timely compared to counting the germinated seedlings by eye.
With the images and the extended data set, the assessment is reliably documented. This is an advantage compared to the “classical” counting, because there the visual impression is lost after the operator finished the note-taking and eventually discards the sample. In contrast, recorded images can be re-assessed later, e.g. once particularly interesting values occur.