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Planning the Collection

Determine the amount of cones needed, how they will be collected, and schedule when and where collections should occur. Collections should match the elevation and seed zones where seed is needed for planting. Collection procedures must be followed exactly to ensure that cones are healthy and that the seed is suitable for storage and sowing.

Seed lots are a unique identifier for seed that comes from cones of the same species, source, quality, location, and collection year. Although the seed lot number is generally assigned at the nursery, you must make sure your collection meets the seed lot’s requirements.

Plan a collection when you need seed and there is a good cone crop. A few of the factors that can increase costs include:

  • Small collections—When small collections are made because of the quality or quantity of the cone crop or because only a small amount of seed is needed, the cost for each pound of seed will be high because the fixed costs are spread over fewer pounds of seed. The more seed that is collected, the better the cost efficiency. When seed is needed badly, small collections may be worth the higher unit costs.

  • Trees Widely Scattered—Moving from tree to tree increases costs.

  • Cones not Ripe or with Damaged Seed—Poor seed viability means collection costs are spread across fewer pounds of seed.

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