Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate

Department name when degree awarded


Committee Chair(s)

R. L. Smith


R. L. Smith


J. L. Haddock


H. H. Wiebe


G. C. Russell


Failure of viable seeds to germinate results in poor stands and often in lower yields. Some of the more important factors that affect germination of seed are temperature, moisture, aeration, and alkalinity.

Planting of speciality crops under irrigation in southern Alberta, Canada, usually is done when temperature is favourable to germination. However, soil moisture, especially in the seed zone, may not always be adequate - a situation brought about, in part, by the strong winds that prevail in this area. Results at the Experimental Farm, Lethbridge, Alberta, show that irrigated crops respond to phosphorus and nitrogen. During the past six years there have been substantial increases in the amounts of nitrogen fertilizers used. The commercial drills used in this area place the fertilizer in partial contact with the seed. Preliminary results have shown that high rates of nitrogen fertilizer, when applied with the seed, decreased the germination of sugar beets, corn, and beans when the soil moisture appeared to be low.

In the work reported herein, the germination of these three crops was studied under various moisture and fertilizer treatments. In addition, sugar beet seeds were germinated in iso-osmotic concentrations of ammonium nitrate and mannitol to determine if nitrogen was detrimental to germination.

The work was carried out at the Experimental Farm, Lethbridge, in 1957.