THREE WHEAT varieties accounted for a significant proportion of the seed certified last harvest, according to latest figures from the National Institute for Agricultural Botany (NIAB).

Robigus topped the varieties at 25,174 tonnes or 17.7% of the total (PB and B, C1 and C2 seed), followed by Einstein (19,121t, 13.4%) and Solstice (13,576.4t, 9.5%), the figures showed.

“I don’t think the picture will change much this season,” commented NIAB’s Clare Leaman. “Robigus and Einstein will be the ones that hold the biggest market share, and since Solstice was talked up by the millers last year, the message has got out and there is more in the ground now.”

She believes that Robigus will continue to be the main Group three variety and while some growers will still opt for Claire (9.2% of the total in 2005), its share will decrease in future years as other varieties come forward.

Within the Group four’s, Alchemy is likely to increase in popularity, as growers are attracted by its good all-round package, she said. “Gladiator and others will also still be in there for more specific situations.”

Pearl continues to dominate the winter barley market, accounting for 40% of the 33,799 tonne total last harvest, followed by Carat (23.6%), figures showed. “I don’t think there will be any massive changes this year although some malting growers may look at Flagon instead of Pearl,” Mrs Leaman added.

In the spring barley market, Optic (33.6%) is slowly loosing ground to newer varieties such as Cocktail, Tipple and Westminster, but is likely to retain significant market share for the foreseeable future, she said.

Four varieties accounted for the bulk of the total 1,711.6 tonne winter oilseed rape market, including, Castille (18.8%), Lioness (17.8%), Expert (13.2%) and Winner (12.1%), figures also showed.