ISU Graduate Program in Seed Technology and Business Offers  Free Week of Webinars

AMES, Iowa – The Graduate Program in Seed Technology and Business (STB), housed at the Iowa State University (ISU) Seed Science Center (SSC), is sponsoring a  free week of webinars addressing current special topics in seed systems, science, and technology.  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the decision was made to cancel the annual STB on-campus short course in Seed Science and Technology.  While this means the popular weeklong short course won’t be conducted in person,  the program leaders decided to create these live, interactive webinars for seed industry professionals. The best part – it is all completely free of charge and you don’t have to be an enrolled ISU student to participate.

     “It’s much more challenging now to offer in-person workshops, but we really didn’t want to lose the chance to continue with educational opportunities for the industry,” said Professor Gary Munkvold, STB Program Director.  “We had great success with this webinar series in 2020 and wanted to continue this free offering for all seed industry professionals in 2021.”

    The webinar sessions are being facilitated by some of the industry’s most respected seed experts and scientists. The webinar sessions topics include: factors to consider when choosing vigor test methods; seed treatments for crop protection and health; optical sorting technology review; gene editing; robotic sensing for plant phenotyping; and effect of seed size on emergence and yield of corn.

    “We have a nice mixture of seed industry scientists and Seed Science Center faculty and staff; all have extensive experience in one or more aspects of seed technology that are important to the industry today.” Munkvold said.  “The sessions differ in their focus, so each one might appeal to a different segment of seed professionals, depending on their current job and goals.”

    STB program leaders say they hope to be back next year to continue the on-campus, hands-on short course, but until then they invite anyone interested to join virtually starting at 11:00 am (CST), Monday, October 25, and continuing through Friday, October 29, 2021. Please see the complete schedule of virtual webinar sessions below, or on the STB website at

    “You only need to register once to have access to the entire week of incredible sessions, with industry-renowned seed science and technology experts” said Lori Youngberg, STB Program Coordinator.  “We are really excited about bringing seed industry professionals together for these webinars and look forward to “seeing” everyone in October.”


About the Seed Science Center: The Seed Science Center at Iowa State is a center of excellence nationally and internationally in seed research, education, technology transfer and international seed programs.




Lori Youngberg, Seed Science Center,

Gary Munkvold, Seed Science Center,


Factors to Consider when Choosing One or More Vigor Test Methods for Your Seed Lots

Presented by Mike Stahr, Iowa State University Seed Lab Manager 
Monday, October 25th, 2021- 11am CST

  • The AOSA “Seed Vigor Testing Handbook” provides information on eleven seed vigor testing methods.  Variations of these methods used at seed labs around the world, plus methods not covered in the handbook, significantly increase the number of testing options to be considered. During this webinar Mike Stahr will give a brief overview of methods and provide considerations when choosing one or more for a seed lot.

Seed Treatments for Crop Protection and Plant Health

Presented by Gary Munkvold, PhD, Professor in Plant Pathology & Jeff Daniels, Global Seed Applied Technologies Technical Services Director
Tuesday, October 26th, 2021- 11am CST

  • Seed treatments are now expected to provide protection against a wide range of pathogens and pests, and deliver multiple additional benefits to the growing crop. Gary Munkvold of the ISU Seed Science Center and Jeff Daniels of Corteva Agriscience will discuss trends in seed treatment use, including recent new chemical and biological products from across the industry, and the challenges involved in implementing complicated seed treatment combinations.

Optical Sorting Technology Review
Presented by Alan Gaul, Iowa State University Seed Conditional Specialist
Tuesday, October 26th, 2021- 1pm CST

  • This webinar session will review current optical sorting technology and recent developments, with a primary focus on common seed applications and process flow configurations.  Discussion will include relative advantages of traditional and newer sorting machinery, multiple pass sorting operations, analytical sample imaging, and potential industry trends for seed applications. A brief review of the ISU seed conditioning workshop program will also be included.

To Gene Edit or Not to Edit? That is the question.

Presented by Stephen Smith, PhD, Adjunct Instructor in Crop Improvement and Intellectual Property
Wednesday, October 27th, 2021- 11am CST

  • The development of a new variety involves numerous decisions including resources required and balancing perceived risks and benefits. Gene editing is a technology that offers many advantages for variety development: precision, speed, and use of native germplasm.  In plant breeding, one or more forms of intellectual property (IP) protection are often used to help recoup research investments in order to provide future investment opportunities. This presentation examines interactions between the genetics and biology of traits with different forms IP in regard to varieties developed using gene editing techniques.

Robotic Proximal Sensing for Plant Phenotyping

Presented by Lie Tang, PhD, Professor in Agricultural Biosystems Engineering
Thursday, October 28th, 2021- 11am CST 

  • Dr. Tang will share his research and development experiences in developing robotic proximal sensing solutions for plant phenotyping. Dr. Tang’s robotic phenotyping work has been focused on developing system level solutions for both indoor and infield applications. His innovations encompass platform design, solutions toward autonomy, sensor customization and deployment, and machine vision and machine learning algorithms. Some representative projects include the Enviratron – a robotized growth chamber facility for accelerated plant performance research under changing climate; the PhenoBot – an autonomous robot for field-based plant phenotyping; the PhenoStereo – a 3D imaging system for high fidelity organ level traits characterization; and the Plant Stand Analyzer – a commercialized high-throughput (real-time) ground-based plant stand mapping and characterization system for large scale maize breeding programs.


Effect of Seed Size on Emergence and Yield of Corn Planted in Ground Cover Cropping Systems

Presented by Susana Goggi, PhD, Professor in Agronomy 
Friday, October 29th, 2021- 11am CST

  • Within this webinar Dr. Goggi will present novel research into the effect of seed size influence on seed emergence in the field and single plant yield. There will also be discussion of delayed emergence and its effect on yield.