25 August 1995

Non-cert area 30%?

ROYALTIES on farm-saved seed are unlikely to reduce the area sown to non-certified crops this autumn, which the trade currently puts at about 30%.

"Had the breeders managed to get an 80% royalty rate as originally intended then it would have had an impact," said Tim Hirst, seed manager with merchant BDR. But with the rate at 50% for certain varieties, those who use farm-saved will stick with it, he predicts.

Coupled to this, the early end to harvest has given most growers a full month to weigh up their options and get their clean, dry cereal crops treated in time for September drilling.

Other traders point out that, with fewer new wheats and barleys this year, farmers may be more inclined to grow established varieties using seed taken from the bin. "This could make life very difficult for us," said one trader.

But not everyone agrees. With good profits already in the bag and with some grain in store in danger of over-heating, leading to cracks and poor germination, Paul Taylor of Seed Innovations believes many farmers wont take the risk. The complex nature of the form may also be a disincentive, he adds. &#42