17 July 1998

Farm-save royalties up this autumn

ROYALTY rates on farm-saved wheat seed will be 7% higher this autumn, after a significant rise in the popularity of farm saving over the past three years.

Seed cleaners registered with the British Society of Plant Breeders will collect £25.03/t compared with £23.37/t last year. Winter rape royalty is up 3.8% and beans 30%, but rates for winter and spring barley are marginally down.

The changes stem from a formula agreed between the breeders and farmers unions, says BSPB chairman, Tony Guthrie. "The rate rise for wheat is partly due to a rise in the popularity of farm saving wheat seed. The three-year rolling average has gone up from 32.2% to 33.3%. The arrival of more modern varieties has also had a role."

The biggest change, a 30% rise in the rate for beans, could have been higher still, he notes. "There has been a huge rise in bean saving from 46% to 62%. When combined with the arrival of newer varieties that should have meant an £11/t royalty rise. But there is a lot of bean seed saved without any royalty payment. To try to get more of it declared we have foregone £5 of the rise."

lBSPB has also reminded growers that it is illegal to save seed from hybrid oilseed rape varieties without the permission of the breeder. &#42