FARM-SAVED SEED payment rates will rise unless royalty dodgers pay up, breeders have warned.

The British Society of Plant Breeders and farming unions have agreed new, lower payment rates fixed for at least three years to encourage growers to comply.

But if current levels of non-compliance are not reduced by 50% within two years, payment rates will automatically increase, said the BSPB.

“We estimate that at least £2 million per year is still lost due to non-payment or mis-declaration,” said BSPB FSS adviser Tony Guthrie.

He said investment in UK-based breeding programmes was vital if growers were to continue to benefit from improved varieties.

“We are particularly pleased that this renewed agreement includes a specific commitment to identify and address non-compliance within the system,” said Mr Guthrie.

Under the new agreement, FSS payments on wheat are down by £2/tonne, while rates for spring barley are more than £3/tonne lower than last year.

Depending on how Mid-Term Reform pans out, the new rates will be fixed for five years.

The National Farmers Union said the deal was worth over £300,000 to farmers using FSS.

But both NFU and NFU Scotland combinable crops chairmen confirmed they will be working closely with breeders to catch royalty dodgers.

“The joint anti-evasion working group will do its utmost to stamp out the problem,” vowed NFU combinable crop chairman Arthur Hill.

FSS Payment

             £/ha

        £/tonne

Rates

2004/5

2003/4

2004/5

2003/4

Wheat

4.81

5.50

29.17

31.21

Winter Barley

4.72

4.66

28.29

27.23

Spring Barley

5.24

6.52

31.19

34.34

Oats

3.44

3.43

22.92

22.49

Peas

4.80

6.34

25.97

27.22

Beans

6.05

5.71

33.43

31.97

Oilseed Rape

7.69

8.75

1,419.01

1,562.00

Linseed

7.60

7.60

146.32

146.32

Triticale

7.29

7.64

42.87

44.91

Yellow Lupins

11.89

7.08

118.94

118.00