19 August 1997

Rialto gathers pace after sluggish start

AFTER a sluggish start, group 2 winter wheat Rialto is gathering momentum and is set to account for 6% of the market this autumn.

Indeed, seed has already had to be imported to meet demand, claims Dalgety.

For the past three years the variety has given best gross margin at Dalgetys Throws Farm, says the firms David Neale.

Charger should account for about 4% but there is a question mark over its standing power, he warns.

"Hereward, the benchmark of quality varieties, will continue with 8% market share illustrating its consistency in yield and performance."

Abbot disappointed in 1997, but its three-year mean remains encouraging, says Mr Neale. "We expect to see Mallaca over the next two years move into the market with clear support from ourselves and Allied Mills."

Among the soft wheats, with clear markets here and abroad, Consort and Riband are likely to sell out as is Madrigal in the north, he predicts. Over 40% of the market could be accounted for by the first two, with increasing emphasis on Consort.

Hunters better disease resistance should ensure it retains a limited share, he says.

Despite performing well when protected against yellow rust Brigadiers share looks set to fall from 19 to 9%, mainly as a result of growing interest Equinox and premium-earner Buster.

The former, with top ratings for standing power and ease of combining, and good performance under dry conditions, will account for 3% of sales this autumn which could rise to 10% next year, he estimates. "Thats a big move."

"Reaper we see stabilising in area with Hussar holding particularly to the west."

Mr Neale anticipates only one newcomer for next year – the high yielding hard feed Savannah from Zeneca. "We are not prepared to consider new varieties that display weaknesses to standing power and disease resistance, and so are not clearly going to enhance farmers gross margins."n