Standards and Labelling for Seed Mixtures

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Standards and labelling for mixtures of seed of cereals, forages, lawn or turf, ground cover, land reclamation, soil conservation, green cover, wildlife grazing or habitat, wetland restoration and similar purposes, and wildflower mixtures and similar products.

Table of Contents

  1. Standards
  2. Labelling
  3. Importation – small lot exemption
  4. Herb Definition
  5. Table 1. Standards and Labelling of Seed Mixtures "At-a-glance"

A. Standards

The Tables in Schedule I must be used for the grading of crop kinds or species listed in Schedule I. The standards for purity and germination in the Tables are intended to be applied to single species listed in that Table, except for Tables III, XIII, XIV and XV which are the standards for specific mixtures of seeds of crop kinds or species. A seed mixture is defined as a mixture of two or more crop kinds or species. This is distinguished from a varietal blend which is defined as containing two or more varieties of a single crop kind or species in the blend.

Therefore, only mixtures of crop kinds or species listed in Schedule I, (except Ground Cover Mixtures), may be graded and labelled with a Canada grade name using the standards set out in Tables III, XIII, XIV and XV. Ground Cover Mixtures are an exception, as they may contain species not listed in Schedule I, and are graded using the standards set out in Table XV.

The testing requirements set out in section 11 of the Regulations apply to all seed sold or imported into Canada.

Standards for Seed Mixtures containing multiple crop kinds that are listed in Schedule I but not specified in a single Table.

Mixtures of seed containing two or more crop kinds listed in Schedule I, but not defined entirely within either Table III, XIII, XIV or XV, must meet the standards for weed seed and other crop seed set out in Table XIII. Component crop kinds or species must meet the germination standards set out in the Tables in which they appear. With the exception of Ground Cover Mixtures, no grade name may be applied.

Standards for Seed Mixtures containing one or more components which are not listed in Schedule I

Any mixture of seed containing one or more components not listed in Schedule I is subject to paragraphs 6(2)(h) or 6(2)(j) and no grade name may be applied to these mixtures.

There exists one exception whereby a mixture of seed containing one or more components not listed in Schedule may be labelled with a grade name. This occurs when the seed is a Ground Cover Mixture as determined by the vendor. Ground Cover Mixtures with one or more components not listed in Schedule I must meet the minimum weed seed and other crop seed standards in Table XV and may be labelled with a grade name.

Paragraph 6(2)(h) specifies seed or mixtures of seed for land reclamation, soil conservation, green cover, wildlife grazing or habitat, wetland restoration and similar purposes, and indicates that the seed must meet the weed seed and other crop seed standards in Table XIII. Furthermore, paragraph 6(2)(h) applies to seed or mixtures of seed where one or more of the components are not listed in Schedule I as per 6(2) and which are intended for planting over large areas. Seed mixtures to which 6(2)(h) applies must meet the minimum weed seed and other crop seed standards in Table XIII.

Paragraph 6(2)(j) applies to wildflower mixtures and similar products intended for landscape gardening use, that is, mixtures intended for planting over small areas. Seed mixtures to which 6(2)(j) applies must meet the minimum weed seed and other crop seed standards in Table XV.

The key distinguishing feature between labelling as per 6(2)(h) and 6(2)(j) is the area of the land to be seeded. Paragraph 6(2)(h) applies to mixes intended for planting over large areas such as highway ditches, power lines and land reclamation projects. Paragraph 6(2)(j) applies to mixes intended for planting over small areas such as small backyard gardens.

Special Exemption for Lawn and Turf Mixtures in Table XIV

Despite the above, Table XIV has a special exemption in Part II, Group C, for the inclusion of seed of a kind or species of grass only, that is not listed in Schedule I. In the case of a lawn or turf mixture which contains one or more species of grass not listed in Schedule I, the mixture must meet the standards set out in Table XIV - Part I, including the germination standards.

Germination standards

According to subsection 6(1) crop kinds or species listed in Schedule I, whether they are components of a mixture or a single species or crop kind, must meet the germination standards of the Table in which they appear. Crop kinds or species not listed in Schedule I are not required to meet germination standards (except for Table XIV Part II, Group C species), but must still meet purity standards.

Grading Components Before Mixing

It is recommended that mixtures always be made with components that have met the standards for individual components set out in the Regulations prior to mixing. This will ensure that the mixture meets the standards that are specified in the Tables for mixtures. For instance, canola, alfalfa and wheatgrass intended for a grazing mixture should be analyzed and graded with the standards set out in the Tables in which they appear (Tables VII, VIII and XI) , before mixing the three components into the final product. Once they are mixed the mixture would be required to meet the standards in Table XIII which are lower than those in the individual tables.

Weed Seeds Order Species

Class 1 Prohibited Noxious species are prohibited in seed in any quantity. Class 2 to 6 Weed Seeds Order species are permitted for import and sale as individual species or components of mixtures provided they are identified on the label. The standards of section 6(2), as determined by species seed size, must be met. As per section 6(4), Class 2 to 6 Weed Seeds Order species are not considered a weed when the species is listed on the label as a component.

B. Labelling

Labelling of Graded Seed Mixtures

All packages of seed are subject to the labelling requirements set out in section 18 of the Regulations. That is, the label must indicate the name and number or percentage of noxious weed seeds and other weed seeds per unit weight (and the percentage germination where applicable), or the vendor supplies this information within 30 days of any request received from any purchaser.

Seed mixtures graded as cereal mixtures according to Table III must be labelled according to section 24 of the Regulations.

Seed mixtures graded as forage mixtures according to Table XIII must be labelled according to section 26 of the Regulations

Seed mixtures graded as lawn seed mixtures according to Table XIV must be labelled according to section 27 of the Regulations.

Seed mixtures graded as ground cover mixtures according to Table XV must be labelled according to section 29 of the Regulations.

Labelling of Seed Mixtures containing multiple crop kinds that are listed in Schedule I but not specified in a single Table

Seed mixtures containing crop kinds or species listed in Schedule I, but where the mixture is not specified in either of Table III, XIII, XIV or XV must be labelled according to section 30 of the Regulations and cannot be labelled with a grade name unless they are labelled with a Ground Cover Mixture grade name and labelled according to section 29.

Labelling of Seed Mixtures containing one or more components which are not listed in Schedule I

All mixtures of seed containing one or more components not listed in Schedule I must be labelled according to section 30 of the Regulations and cannot be labelled with a grade name unless they are labelled with a Ground Cover Mixture grade name and labelled according to section 29.

Labelling mixtures with the term "Fine Fescues" and "Fine Leaved Fescues"

When a lawn grass mixture is labelled as containing "Fine Fescue(s)" or "Fine Leaved Fescues" only the following species are permitted within that designation:

  • Creeping Red Fescue - Festuca rubra L. var. rubra
  • Hard Fescue - Festuca longifolia Thuill.
  • Chewing's Fescue - Festuca rubra L. var. commutata Gaudin
  • Sheep Fescue - Festuca ovina L.
  • Fine-leaved Fescue - Festuca filiformis Pourr. (=F. tenuifolia Sibth.)
  • Various Leaved Fescue - Festuca heterophylla Lam.

C. Importation – small lot exemption

In the case of importation of mixtures containing both large and small seeded crop kinds or species, a small lot is defined as less than 500 grams for the purposes of the small lot exemption in subsection 40(5).

D. Herb Definition

A herb is a plant, the leaves or other parts of which are used for food, medicine, scent, or flavour and is distinguished from the general term herbaceous plant which defines a plant that lacks a woody stem and whose above ground parts die after flowering. Paragraph 6(2)(j) refers to single species of herbs or vegetables not set out in Schedule I, intended for seeding over small areas. Herbs may be considered to be flowers if the intended purpose is consistent with the definition of "flower seeds" in subsection 2(2).

E. Table 1. Standards and Labelling of Seed Mixtures "At-a-glance".

Seed Mixture Type by Intended Use Applicable Subsection or Paragraph of Section 6 Applicable Table of Schedule I Canada Grade Name Applied Germination Standards Label as per Section
Cereal (Tables I, II and II.1, all components in Schedule I) 6.(1) III Y Yes - Tables I to II.1 in which the components appear 24
Forage (Tables VIII to XII, all components in Schedule I) 6.(1) XIII Table Note 1 Y Yes - Tables VIII to XII in which the components appear 26
Lawn & Turf Table Note 2 (Table XIV, Part II, all components in Schedule I) 6.(1) XIV Y Yes - as set out in Table XIV 28
Ground Cover Table Note 3 (all components listed in Schedule I) or (one or more species not listed in Schedule I) 6.(1) XV Y Yes - Tables in which the components appear; and

No - for components not listed in Schedule I

29
Mixtures for land reclamation, soil conservation, green cover, wildlife grazing or habitat, wetland restoration and similar purposes sown over large areas where all, some or none of the components are listed in Schedule I 6.(2)(h) XIII Table Note 1 N Yes - Tables in which the components appear; and

No - for components not listed in Schedule I

30
Wildflower mixtures and similar products intended for landscape gardening use, sown over small areas, where all, some or none of the components are listed in Schedule I and the seed is not labelled with a Ground Cover Mixture grade name 6.(2)(j) XV N Yes - Tables in which the components appear; and

No - for components not listed in Schedule I

30

Table Notes

Table note 1

Table XIII column 11 standards for Minimum Percentage of Germination for Each other Component applies to each other component that is also listed in Tables VIII to XII.

Return to first table note 1 referrer

Table Note 2

Lawn Seed Mixture may contain grass species not listed in Schedule I (Table XIV - Part II, Group C) provided they are indicated on the label.

Return to table note 2 referrer

Table Note 3

A Ground Cover Mixture is considered as such when labelled as Canada No. 1 (or 2) Ground Cover Mixture.

Return to table note 3 referrer

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