9 June 1995

Advantage – speed and uniformity

ADVANTAGE, the thiram-priming technique developed at Brooms Barn since 1989 and commercialised by Germains (UK), removes more of the germination inhibitors than conventional seed treatments.

The main aim is to speed germination and boost uniformity of plant stands, explains Mr Prince. "It acts as a biochemical rather than a physical switch on – its not pre-germination."

The process should help seedlings counter the effects of cold springs. "It should also help where capping is a problem and could help crops grow away from any pest activity."

About 1000 units – 870ha (2150 acres) – of Advantage-treated seed was tested pre-commercially last season.

"It acts as a bit of an insurance policy giving growers greater flexibility in sowing dates," he says.

"For 1996 were limiting it to one variety each from three companies choosing those with good bolting resistance because growers may wish to drill earlier. Were offering it with either Force or Gaucho. I believe it is a market that will progress slowly."

John Prince, British Sugar commercial seed manager.