By FWi staff

GROUP 1 wheat varieties are expected to increase their share of the UK plantings this autumn as growers look to varieties with export potential, according to estimates released by Dalgety Arable.

Barry Baker, Dalgetys national seed manager, predicts a similar overall cropping pattern to last year of just under 4 million hectares.

“Fears that set-aside would rise dramatically this season have failed to materialise, and wheat plantings seem to be remaining at a similar level after the big increase last year,” he explains.

Three wheat varieties – Claire, Consort and Malacca – appear to dominate the planting area, with a 60% share this season.

Group 3 variety Claire is expected to become the number-one UK variety.

“The popularity of breadmaking wheat Malacca is chiefly responsible for group 1s forecasted rise in share of the overall wheat market from 18% to 21%.

“Herewards good results have also ensured that it still retains 5% of the wheat market,” Mr Barker comments.

Group 2 wheat plantings have fallen back slightly as Rialto has started to slip out of favour.

The share of the group 3 varieties is relatively static at 50%, but Claire now makes up a quarter of the market.

Malting-quality barley varieties are predicted to take a 64% share of the barley area.

Regina is likely to hold onto its market leader position even though Dalgety Arable has seen a major increase in demand for Pearl, particularly in the eastern half of the county.

“Pearls malting and yield results have shown it can match Regina and as a result it looks likely to take 24% of the market, up from 7% last year,” explains Mr. Barker.

Halcyon looks set to rapidly disappear as maltsters are unwilling to pay the sort of premiums needed to compensate for its lower yield.

For feed barleys, Heligan is gaining ground in the north and mid-west while Jewel is likely to increase in the west and south particularly in Barley Yellow Mosaic Virus areas.

Oilseed rape plantings look likely to be on a par with last year, but a downturn in popularity for Apex has resulted in a predicted drop in market share from 40% to 30%.

“Apexs market share has been influenced by increasing demand for conventional varieties and those offering farmers a cheaper option but similar performance,” says Mr. Barker.