Solstice remains the key Group 1 wheat sold by Openfield, taking a 21% market share of seed sales by 23 September. Sales of Hereward have doubled year-on-year because of the group’s Warburtons supply contract, which has been extended to 2016.


“Cordiale remains the only Group 2 wheat to excite, to the detriment of all others,” said national seeds manager Lee Bennett at the company’s harvest review and new season outlook meeting this week.

Among the Group 3s, Scout has consolidated, with a 4.7% share and Invicta has sold out. Oakley, with 11.8%, remains the major player in Group 4, despite its yellow rust rating.

“The yellow rust doesn’t upset farmers, they’ve learned how to manage it,” said Mr Bennett. Grafton holds the second slot with Diego, which may sell out this year, hard on its heels.

White wheat Zircon has grown from 0.5% share last year to 2.2% this year, all on contract to Weetabix.

Among the barleys, winter barley seed sales are 1% up on a year ago, with high yielding feed varieties dominating and hybrids up to 9% from 4.6% a year ago, having coped best with the past season’s weather.

Cassia has taken over from Saffron and Retriever as first choice barley , then Volume followed by Flagon, Retriever and Cassata. The malting barley share has slipped 5%, with only the eastern counties region having upped the malting barley variety share compared with last year.

The barley area is set to lose most in the northern region. This area is now so heavily influenced by demand for wheat for ethanol plants that more were planning to grow a second wheat instead of barley, said Mr Bennett.

• Seed marketing company Senova claims that its winter wheat JB Diego and winter oilseed rape Vision have claimed almost a 10% share of their respective markets. Vision took a 7% share of the winter oilseed rape market last year and has already sold 25% more seed this season, says the company.