Use of Flash-Flaming Technology to Improve Seed Handling and Delivery of Winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata)

Mitch G. Thacker, Matthew D. Madsen, Benjamin W. Hoose, Rhett M. Anderson, David R. Tryon, Randy T. Larsen, Kevin L. Gunnell, Daniel D. Summers, Todd E. Erickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Ecological restoration of rangelands using wild-collected seeds can be challenging due to low seed quality, inconvenient seed anatomy, and poor plant establishment. In North America, the half-shrub winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata) is a valuable protein-rich forage for wildlife and livestock. Seeds of this species are contained in one-seeded fruits enclosed in four fluffy, silky bracts. While the seeds can be removed from the bracts, it is not recommended as the bracts are thought to help protect the seed and aid in germination and seedling growth. However, bracts of winterfat make it difficult to incorporate this species within a seed mix because they prevent the seed from flowing through mechanized seeders. The anatomy of winterfat fruit also makes it difficult to treat this species with external seed-coating materials that may aid in direct seeding efforts. We tested the use of a recently developed flash-flaming technique in combination with seed coating to improve the flowability of winterfat fruits. Our results indicate that flash flaming can reduce the appendages on winterfat fruits, which decreased fruit volume by up to 46% without impacting seed germination. Flash flaming also makes it possible to incorporate a polymer seed coating to the exterior of winterfat fruits. We found that flash flaming combined with seed coating improved the flowability of winterfat fruits, as measured with standard laboratory tests and by delivering fruits through a broadcast seeder and a rangeland drill. These results indicate that flash flaming plus seed coating provides a new technology that will allow for the treating and planting of winterfat on degraded rangelands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-27
Number of pages6
JournalRangeland Ecology and Management
Volume88
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

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