9 March 2001

Breeder goes direct

PLANT breeder CPB Twyford has announced plans to bypass the seed trade and sell two oilseed rape varieties direct to farm.

The aim is to offer growers better value and give the company a return which will sustain plant breeding in the UK, says managing director, Theo Labuda.

Initially only Disco, a newly recommended hybrid, and Tradition, a conventional variety in national list trials, will be offered via the internet or direct telephone order.

Although other varieties and crops could soon follow, seed merchants will retain a vital role multiplying and retailing mainline cereals, says Mr Labuda.

CPB Direct prices will be comparable to wholesale values and by talking to the breeder growers will receive better advice on how to grow a variety and whether or not it is suitable for them, he maintains.

"Weve not decided prices down to the last penny but our farmer focus groups indicated they would not buy direct unless they were offered a 7-10% discount," he says.

Increasingly merchants have been asking the breeder to deliver oilseed rape seed direct to farm. Taking the order as well was the logical next step, he adds. "Last year 81% of Gemini and 65% of Pronto deliveries were direct from us to the farm – within 48 hours."

&#8226 Syngenta Seeds NK brand has also announced plans to launch on-line sales of at least one oilseed rape variety at Cereals 2001.