Electroconductivity tests are currently used for seed vigour assessment. They are rapid and simple and after further development, they may yet provide the seed industry with a non-destructive alternative to the standard germination test, which is thoroughly destructive to the sample, time consuming, and expensive. Seed injury, a result of soaking required by the electroconductivity test, was evaluated using high quality Zea mays L. seeds responding to successive imbibition/dryback cycles. If the soaking time is brief, injury to the seeds should be minimal, thus permitting successive tests on the same sample. We tested 5 imbibition/dryback cycles (C) and 5 imbibition periods, or cycle durations (CD) of 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 h. Dryback periods lasted 5–7 d at room temperature. Seeds were permitted to dry back to 10% moisture. Electroconductivity readings were obtained at the end of each CD for each C. Each treatment (C × CD) sample, n=100 seeds, was germinated at 25°C for 7 d; radicle lengths were measured after 3 d. The experiment was repeated yielding a total of 50 observations. Viability and vigour losses were measured in response to successive C and increasing CD. Five cycles of 6 h each resulted in only a 10% loss of viability, but a 20% loss of relative vigour, confirming that vigour is more sensitive to the testing procedure. Cycles had the greatest effect on loss of seed quality since 45% of the readily leachable electrolytes were lost from the seeds during the first soaking period. There was no interaction between C and CD.