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Main Analysis Lab in Seed TestingWelcome to the Seed Testing Laboratory Web Page. The STL is Irelands national seed testing laboratory. It was established in 1901 under the newly established Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland and was the first control laboratory set up by new Department. The Laboratory is affiliated to International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) since 1926. The Laboratory was accredited by ISTA in 2001 and has to meet specific quality standards and is authorised to carry out certain tests for customers on behalf of ISTA. In order to be marketed, all seeds from the important agricultural and horticultural crops are now subject to compliance with statutory instruments and require official testing for germination, purity and other seed determination.


The Laboratory conducts tests on a wide range of species.  The majority of samples come from Seed Merchants, Farmers and the General Public. Samples are also submitted from various Divisions within DAFM.

Species Tested

Grasses (including mixtures)
Vegetable Seeds
Tree Seeds
Wildflower Seeds

The major tests are as follows:

(For more information click on link) 

  • Germination Test: The best indicator of field emergence.
  • Purity : Indicates the percentage of pure seed in the lot.
  • Tetrazolium Test : Rapid indicator of potential germination in cereals.
  • Flourescence Test: Indicates the presence of Lolium multiflorum in Lolium perenne using ultra violet light.
  • International Certificate Test :Used when seed is being exported.
  • Moisture Test: Oven method for determining the moisture content of seed or malt.
  • 1000 Seed Weight Test: Determines the weight of 1000 seeds.
  • Hectolitre Weight: A measure of grain density.
  • Other Seed Determination: Used to determine the number of seeds other than the stated species.
  • Conductivity Test: Vigour testing for pulses, contact the laboratory
  • Phytosanitary Certificate Tests: Generally used for export, determines the presence of pests or notifiable diseases. The STL issues Phytosanitary Certificates for seed sourced or certified in Ireland.
  • Seed Health Tests: These include Microdochium species and Total Fusarium in cereal crops and Leaf Stripe/Net Blotch in barley. Barley can be tested for Loose Smut. Beans and Peas can be tested for Ascochyta spp. and Botrytis spp. 

It is vitally important that submitted samples are representative of the lots from which they are drawn, otherwise calculations based on test result information may be inaccurate and lead to costly errors. In the case of certified seed, trained officers of the Department of Agriculture using specified procedures conduct sampling. Official sample envelopes are supplied by applying to the Laboratory in writing.

For privately submitted samples envelopes can be supplied by applying to the Laboratory. 

Below are listed some of the more common species tested and the minimum recommended sample weights for submission.

(As a rough guide a mug full of barley seed weighs approximately 200g)

Minimum recommended sample weights
 Barley: Germination or Tetrazolium test 200g, Purity test 300g, Other Seed Search 1kg 
 Wheat:  Germination or Tetrazolium test 200g, Purity test 300g, Other Seed Search 1kg
 Oats:  Germination or Tetrazolium test 200g, Purity test 300g, Other Seed Search 1kg
 Ryegrass:  Germination 10g, Purity test 20g Other Seed Search 70g

What to do if you wish to submit a sample for testing:

Fill a suitable container with the minimum sample weight, ensuring that the sample is representative of the lot.

  • Indicate the type of test(s) you want.
  • Include the appropriate fee.
  • Fill in your name, address and sample details.
  • Post or deliver the sample to the address at the bottom of the page.

The fees for tests are set on the 1st of July each year and are applicable for a twelve-month period.  The appropriate fee should be forwarded with the sample. An advance arrangement can be made with the laboratory for payment on account.


Seed Testing Laboratory,
DAFM Laboratories,
Co. Kildare,
W23 X3PH.

Visits to the Laboratory

  • Requests for visits should be submitted in writing to the Director of the Seed Testing Lab at the address above.