29 September 2000

Soggy weather puts brakes on sowing

UK cropping for 2000/01 is hard to call as harvest drags on in the north and wet weather hampers sowing, says Dalgety Arable.

"Drilling is two to three weeks behind south of the Humber," says national seed manager Barry Barker. In the north and Scotland growers may have to switch to spring crops.

Moves to lower seed rates, growers reluctance to order until seeing harvest results, and more farm-saved seed use make forecasting tricky. But certified sales, down 40% in five years, still suggest varietal trends, says Mr Barker.

Malacca is now most popular nabim Group 1 winter wheat, boosting that sectors market share from 18% to 21%.

But Claire will be the most widely grown variety with a quarter of the market. With Group 3 companion Consort it could take 47% of sales. Interest in Group 4 types like Savannah and Napier is declining as growers seek varieties with export potential.

Winter barley area is set to fall slightly, malting types Pearl and Regina sharing over half on 24% and 32% respectively.

Apexs share of an oilseed rape area similar to last year has slipped from 40%+ to nearer 30%, increased demand for conventional varieties like Escort and Fortress being the main reason. &#42