7 September 2000
‘Low certified seed prices wont last’

By FWi staff

WHILE early prices in the certified cereal seed market have slipped below 200/t, late orderers may not enjoy the same economies, suppliers warn

Depending on variety, prices for C2 wheat with a basic seed dressing are currently 190-240/t, according to Dalgetys Barry Barker.

“They are certainly less than last year, when there were problems with harvest, he admitted.

“Overall most growers will pay less than they did last year.

Cheapest are the bigger demand feed types and Riband with its lower royalty rate, says Mr Barker. Most expensive are newer types like Genghis and Napier.

But he said the differential over farm-saved seed is getting less because more people are using lower seed rates.

“The ordering pattern is definitely behind last year and there is bound to be a big rush in the next few weeks, said Mr Barker.

So the question is whether all varieties growers want will be available.”

Orders for key ones like Claire, Consort, Malacca and even Riband, which with others represent about 80% of the market, should be met.

But drillers may have to wait for the other 20%, he suggests.

SCATS David Buttle is admits sub-200/t trade has taken place, but says such prices are unlikely to continue.

“A lot of farm-savers have been hanging on to see what they have.”

Weather-disrupted spraying and fertilising means many have weed-ridden samples with pinched grain, he believes.

Low certified prices should make farm-savers reconsider their strategies, advises BDRs Tim Hirst.

“With grain at only 60/t many think merchants are pocketing 140/t.”

He says if all the costs of farm-processing are taken into account, true savings against lowest certified seed prices are only about 30/t.

“On a hectarage basis, at the lowest common denominator, that is very marginal.”

With at least one miller planning to impose penalties for mixed variety deliveries, the case for certified seed is getting stronger, he adds.