A new name will appear in the maize seed market for UK growers in the next few months as French co-operative Limagrain completes its buyout of Advanta Seeds on 1 November.

The new company will trade as Limagrain UK and will operate from Advanta’s current base at Rothwell, Lincolnshire.

As a result of the takeover UK farmers will be able to benefit from a bigger, better maize breeding programme than the current Advanta programme, which is already the largest in the UK.

With maize accounting for two-thirds of Limagrain’s field crops turnover UK growers can be assured of the group’s commitment to the crop and developing new varieties for northern European situations.

LG maize

Advanta Seeds’ director Tom Joliffe believes the change to Advanta’s ownership will greatly aid UK farmers as there will be increased security of seed supply to UK farms from Limagrain’s breeding programme. “Advanta had capacity to produce seed for 1m acres of maize, mostly sourced from contract seed growers in Hungary. By contrast, in 2008 Limagrain delivered 4m acres worth of seed from its growers in France.

“It is too early to predict the 2009 situation, but seed companies are going into the next sales season knowing European maize seed stocks are at an all time low and demand is likely to be the highest ever. Limagrain UK, as the company will be known here, will be better placed than many to supply farmers with a range of maize varieties suitable for most UK growing conditions.”

Limagrain has planned investment in the UK trials and breeding programme already and these will include an additional Limagrain breeder dedicated to selecting varieties for the UK and a doubling of the size of the UK trials programme, with the number of new hybrids being tested will triple, explains Dr Joliffe.

Additionally, thanks to the additional resource varieties will be fast-racked into official trials and reach the marketplace sooner than previously. “The UK is at the extreme of the geographic range for maize, however, Limagrain UK intend to accelerate breeding improvements and deliver varieties that are early, cold tolerant, high in starch and highly digestible.”

Free pack of LG maize

To mark the rebranding farmers will be able to register to receive a free pack of LG maize at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show on 17 and 18 September.

Additionally, the company will also be running the cob clinic where farmers can bring along cobs picked that day to the Limagrain stand for an assessment of maturity and predicted best harvest date.