By Farmers Weekly staff

MERCHANTS have reported a slight firming in the certified seed market, as late demand puts increased pressure on suppliers.

“Its all about the sheer logistics of getting seed on to farm,” says BDRs Tim Hirst. “Those who bought earlier have done better.”

Even though the late harvest and wet weather have put drilling behind schedule, orders are ahead of last year, he says, with an estimated 70% of the seasons trade accounted for.

Wheat sales are dominated by Class 3 varieties, which are expected to account for 50% of the sown area.

“Both Claire and Consort have had good years, with Claire selling better in the south and Consort more in the midlands and north,” says Mr Hirst.

Other traders confirm the slight increase in on-farm seed prices, although from a very low base.

Much of this seasons business has been done at sub-200/t levels for cleaned and dressed seed.

“The market has firmed a fraction, perhaps by 3 to 4/t, as people have got into a spot situation,” says Dalgety seeds manager Barry Barker.

“If you want something immediately and have not ordered it, you have to pay for it.”

But most wheat seed is still trading below 200/t.

One exception is first-choice breadmaker Malacca, which is showing some tightening and has climbed to about 205/t.

Dalgety expects total wheat plantings to match last years levels.

On the barley front, Pearl is the variety of choice, accounting for over half the winter malting area.

As a newer variety and with a good season behind it, it is achieving prices of 215/t delivered.