Methods for Harvesting Seeds
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Valiant

I am looking for information on how seeds are collected or gathered. How do commercial companies collect seeds for wholesale or retail marketing?

Seed is gathered by many different techniques, depending on what seed and volumes. Obviously, a combine is used for most field production collections. Special hand harvesters are used for heirlooms and small collection from the wild. This is like cranberry scoop, where teeth pull the seed into a small collector.

The actual collection is far more technical than appropriate for a response in this forum. Cone seed from trees require most to climb the tree and harvest specific cone, for the quality and repository holding those collections. You are going to have to read a number of books on this subject, and then center in on what kind of seed you want to collect.

Flower seed requires special combines, especially if the seed shatters prior to harvest. One form lays paper down and uses a side-bar cutter. The entire seed pod then dries on the paper, and is then combined. The paper is thrown out the back, as part of seed pod trash. I offer these examples to show how broad a question you have asked. If you could be a bit more specific, I could address your question with far more detail.

There are many different seed saver exchanges, each offering their own requirements and protocols. Typical sites like is a good place to begin. Each State usually has their own program.

The one in Canada is Seeds of Diversity

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