19 November 1999

£6m wheat yield loss

GROWERS could be missing out on £6m worth of wheat yields next harvest, due to a massive swing to Group 3 soft milling varieties, says breeder Advanta.

"Looking at the seed certification figures one fact is inescapable – about 50% of the area is down to Group 3 types," says marketing manager Paul Hickman. "A large proportion will end up being sold at feed price."

Typically 30% soft wheat is adequate to cover both domestic soft milling and export requirements, he says. The 20% balance would have been better planted with 3-4% higher-yielding feed types Napier or Savannah.

However, British Cereal Exports says the swing to Group 3 is preferable to a return to widespread Group 4 varieties.

"We would rather have more Group 3 than wall to wall Group 4," says director Alan Almond. "A reasonable balance of varieties is better from an export point of view." &#42