Canola germination test

Page last updated: Friday, 1 November 2019 - 3:49pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

It is essential to know the germination percentage of your canola seed, to ensure a high proportion of viable seed and to calculate the correct seeding rate.

The germination percentage is provided for all purchased seed.

Send samples of retained open pollinated seed, to the DPIRD Diagnostic Laboratory Services (DDLS) for a complete germination and vigour testing service. This is valuable insurance for your canola crop. Alternatively, a home germination test can be used to give an approximate germination percentage, although no vigour values.

We recommend growers use DDLS seed testing service for accurate, internationally acredited testing of canola seed.

For more information about seeking a germination test from DDLS, use the 'See Also' links on this page, telephone 9368 3721 or email

As a secondary option, growers may choose to do their own germination test.

Canola germination test and calculating germination percentage

It is best to test each seed lot several times. Prepare for this when collecting the seed.

  1. Collect 50 seeds from each lot to be planted.
  2. Lay four sheets of paper towel on top of each other and moisten (do not drench).
  3. Place 50 seeds 10mm apart on the paper towels.
  4. Roll up, sandwiching the seeds between the moist paper towels.
  5. Soak a hand towel in water and ring out, then wrap it around the rolled-up paper towel and loosely secure with rubber bands.
  6. Place in a plastic bag, seal and place in a warm spot, such as the kitchen bench near a window, and leave for 5-7 days.
  7. Unwrap and count the number of seeds that have not germinated.
  8. Do your calculation as follows: Germination % = [(number of seeds tested − number of seeds that didn’t germinate) ÷ 50] ×100.

This information has been taken from the NSW Department of Primary Industries publication, Procrop Canola Growth and Development (2011) page 29.

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