National Seed Testing Station (SNES)

National Seed Testing Station (SNES)

The SNES is the National Reference Laboratory in France for seed quality analysis for seed import and export. The station contributes to the implementation of seed certification regulations and facilitates national and international seed trade.


The SNES is the National Reference Laboratory in France for seed quality analysis for seed import and export. The station contributes to the implementation of seed certification regulations and facilitates national and international seed trade.

It carries out a range of regulatory activities:

  • carrying out official seed analysis and testing for all species
  • providing services for private companies in the seed sector
  • monitoring the network of seed testing laboratories in France
  • innovating, developing, and validating testing methods
  • representing France in international technical bodies to promote France’s position and expertise.

You can consult all tests and services : All our field and forage tests, All our vegetables, ornamentals, fruits, aromatics tests

Organisation and resources

The SNES is a technical department of GEVES entirely dedicated to seeds and seedlings, providing pioneering expertise since 1971. It comprises 4 specialised divisions:

  • Physical analysis
  • Seed health
  • Germination
  • Customer service and sampling

The station’s resources include 7500m² of laboratories, 73 permanent staff and approximately 28 short-term contract staff.

Examples of innovative material include:

Physical analysis laboratory

Main activities:

  • Evaluate the physical quality of seeds
  • Develop and improve testing methods
  • Organise workshops and publish technical documents

Human resources:

  • 21 people – 5 teams:
    • Purity and micro-cleaning
    • Purity and dust testing
    • Purity, moisture content and radiography
    • Cytology: determination of ploidy level and identification of species
    • Botany: expertise on seeds and seedlings

Specialised equipment:

  • National reference collection of 17,000 species of seed
  • 757 m² laboratory (radiography, botany, micro-cleaning)
  • Faxitron x-ray system model MX-20DC12 (20 μm focal spot)
  • Heubach Dustmeter
  • Flow cytometer
  • ID.SEED®
Pathology laboratory

Main activities:

Human resources:

  • 36 people divided into 2 teams: Resistance tests/health tests

Specialised equipment:

  • 21 growth chambers (with light/temperature/humidity settings), a total of 216m²
  • 564m² laboratory
  • Specialised machines: ELISA cleaner and reader, 3 extractors, 4 types of seed grinder, Kort for the extraction of nematodes from soil, automated culture media preparator, Autoclave, Centrifuge.
  • 250 bioagressor strains in a reference collection
  • Reference material

Prestations :

    • Evaluation of Variety Resistance
    • Detection of Pathogens & Pests
    • Evaluation of Treatment Effectiveness

Germination laboratory
Activities: Human resources:
  • 22 people divided into 4 teams:
    • Flower, vegetable and woody species,
    • Vegetable, forage grass, and beetroot species
    • Field crop species
    • Substrate preparation workshop
Specialised equipment:
  • 32 growth chambers (with light/temperature/humidity settings), a total of 363m²
  • 447 m² laboratory
  • 667 m² workshop


Seed quality testing is one of GEVES’s primary missions. Tests include various analyses which are carried out at the National Seed Testing Station.

Physical quality is determined by the following analyses :

  • Specific purity
  • Determination of foreign species
  • Moisture content
  • Micro-cleaning
  • Radiography
  • Dust quantification
  • Cytometry
  • Botany

Germination quality is measured by:

  • Evaluation of germination ability
  • Vigour tests
  • Viability tests

Seed health is determined by testing:

  • Seed health state
  • Selectivity and effectiveness of phyto-sanitary treatments

Quality at the SNES

The SNES is ISTA accredited since 2001 (N°FRDL0200). It is thereby authorised to deliver international certificates. The SNES is COFRAC accredited according to ISO 17025 since 2002 for seed testing (Cofrac section laboratoires N°1-1316 GEVES-Beaucouzé). Find out more about GEVES’s quality assurances


  • 1884

    The SNES is created

  • 1905

    First French law on seed trade

  • 1922

    Creation of seed control committee

  • 1924

    Creation of International Seed Testing Association

  • 1932

    Creation of the first official French Catalogue of species and varieties

  • 1971

    Creation of GEVES as a department of INRA

  • 1993

    Relocation of GEVES head office to Beaucouzé with the SNES

  • 2009

    Relocation of the GEVES headquarters to the SNES site


First and last name Position Email address
Director of the SNES
Head of Customer Service and Sampling
Head of the Physical Analysis Laboratory
Head of the Pathology Laboratory
Head of the Germination Laboratory
Operational Supervisor of the Seed Phenotyping Platform
NRL Coordination & Development Officer
Head of Quality at the SNES
Customer Service
Customer Service