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Plant Industry - Seed and Fertilizer Section

N.C. Seed Lab

Seed Sample Information and Forms

Printable PDF of the following information PDF

Seed Sampling Basics for Homeowners
  • The careful and deliberate sampling of seed is an important first step in determining the true characteristics of any seed lot.
  • The seed sample you take should be fully representative of the entire seed lot.  As such, when taking any sample, one should check for any signs of non-uniformity with the seed.
  • It is important to fully review the container or package and label information for the lot number, kind, variety, and any seed treatment.
  • For sampling small quantities of seed, it is often adequate for homeowners to include 200-400 seed for testing.  This number provides an appropriate amount to provide true statistically-valid results.  Should the number of seed be limited, as many seed as possible should be sent without impacting your garden plans.
  • For sampling seed in bulk, free-flowing seed in bags, mini-bulk containers or bulk, a trier must be utilized for effective sampling.  The trier enables one to effectively sample all portion of a container or quantity being sampled.  For the most part, this type of sampling is not expected or warranted by homeowners.
  • Hand sampling may be utilized by homeowners when standard equipment is not available, especially for bulk products. If hand-sampling is utilized, the individual must reach to the bottom of the container in a swooping or scooping manner. 
  • Composite samples may be placed in fully sealed paper bags in a mailing envelope and submitted to the NC Seed Laboratory, NCDA&CS-Plant Industry Division, 1060 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1060.  Overnight deliveries may be submitted to NC Seed Laboratory, 216 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27603.
  • Helpful information includes any of the following, if known:  Name and address of labeler, kind and variety, brand name, lot number, container weight and sample date. 
  • It is critical the name, address and email of the individual furnishing the information be provided. 

Note:  Presently there are no costs for purity and germination tests conducted for North Carolina Residents.



NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division - Seed & Fertilizer Section
Seed & Fertilizer Section Administrator - Danny Turner
Mailing Address:1060 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1060
Physical Address: 216 West Jones Street, Raleigh NC 27603
Phone:(919) 707-3735 | FAX: (919) 733-1041