26 January 1996

NIAB:big rise in winter cereals

A LARGE increase in the winter cereals area has been confirmed this week with the release of provisional figures on seed certifications from the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.

These point to a 5% increase in the amount of winter wheat certified (to 243,945t) and an 11% increase in winter barley (to 96,123t).

With the early end to harvest 1995, and the clean state of much of the crop, some traders believe there has also been another increase in the area of farm-saved seed – most of it wheat.

While this points to a substantial increase in the wheat crop next harvest, there is unlikely to be any recovery in the amount for milling. NIABs figures show the proportion of NABIM group 1 and 2 varieties has shrunk from 26% last year to 20% this season.

Malting barley, however, makes up about 28% of the winter market, just 2% down on last year. "Combined with the 11% increase in the total weight of winter barley certified from harvest 1995, this gives an increase of 6% in the actual weight of malting varieties," says head of cereals certification Andrew Mitchell.

But these winter increases limit the potential of the spring market, despite the reduction in set-aside, observed Dalgety seed business manager Barry Barker. "Spring beans have been the main sufferer, but peas are going well," he said.

Malting barley is also selling fast as the last of the sugar beet area is cleared, though the total spring barley area is expected to remain static in England and Wales, and increase only slightly in Scotland.

Other merchants confirm a strong demand for malting varieties Alexis and Chariot, which are getting tight. They are currently valued at £325/t recleaned. &#42