Sorghum/Sudangrass Crop Standards

(Sorghum spp.)

GENERAL STANDARDS -- The standards on this sheet are in part condensed and apply to open-pollinated sorghum. For hybrid sorghum refer to hybrid sorghum standards. For greater detail and additional provisions, see the General Standards.

PLANTING STOCK -- In most varieties Breeder seed must be planted to produce Foundation seed. Foundation seed must be planted to produce Registered seed. Registered seed must be planted to produce Certified seed. In varieties where there is no Registered class, Foundation seed must be planted to produce Certified seed. Seed planted to produce any class of certified seed must be treated for seed-borne diseases.

APPLICATION -- Applications should be submitted electronically on CCIA’s website (Application to grow and certify seed) as soon as possible and no later than three (3) weeks after planting. New applicants should contact the CCIA office for instructions on obtaining access to the online application system.

FIELD ELIGIBILITY -- Sorghum may be grown for certification only on land where no other cultivated variety of annual sorghum, including sudangrass, has been grown the previous two (2) years. An exception is made if the previous crop was of the same variety, planted for certification, and met the field inspection requirements for varietal purity.

ISOLATION -- All fields or portions of fields grown for the Foundation or Registered class of seed must be 990 feet from any other sorghum (including Johnsongrass). Fields being grown for production of the Certified class of seed must be 660 feet from any other sorghum (including Johnsongrass), except that the distance must be 990 feet for Certified sudangrass from grain sorghum and 1,320 feet for Certified grain sorghum from sudangrass.

If a portion of a field is ineligible for certification due to lack of isolation, that portion must be separated from the rest of the field by removal of two (2) rows or a mowed or barren strip at least ten (10) feet wide.

FIELD INSPECTION -- Every field should be rogued to remove any plants of another crop or variety prior to anthesis. Foundation and Registered seed fields shall be given two (2) field inspections. The first field inspection shall be made during bloom, preferably during full bloom. The second shall be made before harvest but after the seed begins to assume mature color. Certified seed fields shall be inspected before harvest but after the seed begins to assume mature color.

Off-Types -- Varieties cannot always be differentiated at field inspection. When differences can be distinguished, the maximum mixture of other varieties permitted is the following:













Weeds --Fields must be free of any prohibited noxious weeds. Restricted noxious weeds, and common weeds difficult to separate must be controlled. Prohibited and Restricted noxious weeds are listed in the California Seed Law/CA Code of Regulations/Sections 3854 and 3855. See California Seed Law - Prohibited and Restricted Noxious Weed List.

Diseases -- Head smut and kernel smut must not exceed one (1) head per 10,000 heads.

Fields may be refused certification due to unsatisfactory appearance caused by weeds, poor growth, poor stand, disease, insect damage, and any other condition which prevents accurate inspection or creates doubt as to identity of the variety.

A field inspection report will be sent to the applicant. If the field is approved, a certification number will be assigned. This number must be on all containers of seed before they leave the field. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure his field has been inspected before it is harvested.

HARVESTING -- Harvesting is subject to the supervision of the County Agricultural Commissioner who must be contacted prior to harvest. Any seed moved out of the county for conditioning must be accompanied by an Intercounty Permit or Interstate Transfer of Seed Certificate issued by the commissioner.

CONDITIONING AND SAMPLING -- Conditioning of seed for certification may be done only in facilities approved for this purpose by the California Crop Improvement Association. It is the responsibility of the applicant to determine if the plant is eligible before delivering seed for conditioning. Conditioning, sampling, reconditioning, and blending must be supervised by the County Agricultural Commissioner. Conditioning equipment must be free from contaminating seed to the satisfaction of the supervising inspector.

SEED INSPECTION -- All seed must be sampled and tested after conditioning and the seed lot must meet or exceed seed certification standards for that crop. A seed lab using the Association of Official Seed Analyst “Rules for Testing” must test the sample. A Registered Seed Technologist must sign each lab analysis. In addition to AOSA rules, specific seed testing may be required to meet CCIA seed certification standards.

The conditioner is required to submit a 500 gram sample of sudangrass and a 1,000 gram sample of sorghum to the laboratory for analysis. (Submitted Sample Sizes for Certification). In some instances, varietal identity cannot be determined by visual seed inspections. Seed must be well screened and graded, bright in color, of good appearance and meet the following standards:

Pure Seed

98.00% (Minimum)

Inert Matter

2.0% (Maximum)

Inert matter shall not include more than 0.5% of material
other than seed fragments of the variety under consideration.


Other Varieties


- Foundation

0.005% (Maximum)

- Registered

0.01% (Maximum)

- Certified

0.05% (Maximum)

Other Crop Seed


- Foundation

0.01% (Maximum)

- Registered

0.03% (Maximum)

- Certified

0.08% (Maximum)

Other Kinds


- Foundation

0.005% (Maximum)

- Registered

0.01% (Maximum)

- Certified

0.05% (Maximum)

Other Kinds shall not exceed two (2) seeds per pound in the
Foundation class, six (6) seeds per pound in the Registered
class, and ten (10) seeds per pound in the Certified Class.


Weed Seed

0.10% (Maximum)

Noxious Weed Seed



85.00% (Minimum)

The CCIA requires Reports of Analysis for initial certification to be dated no more than a maximum of six (6) months prior to the request for seed certification. The 'Purity Analysis' and 'Germination' must be conducted on the same laboratory seed sample and those results must be presented in a single Report of Analysis.

FINAL CERTIFICATION AND TAGGING -- If the seed sample meets all standards a seed inspection report is issued. Before certification is complete, however, each container must have an official tag or label attached. Certified seed may be sold to a grower in bulk without tagging if a properly filled out Bulk Sale Certificate accompanies the shipment. The tags and Bulk Sale Certificates are issued by the California Crop Improvement Association.

Updated November 2019