28 December 2001

Supply looks secure for most varieties

MOST spring seeds should be in ample supply this year, but one or two specific variety needs may be tight, says Dalgety Arable.

"With spring barley there were some losses of seed crops in Scotland, consequently one or two varieties – such as Chalice or Maresi – could be short," says national seeds manager Barry Barker. "But Optic wont be a problem, that will be fuelled from the south."

In England, one or two late cut seed crops have suffered germination problems, but there should be plenty of the main spring barley varieties to go round, he says.

Spring wheats had some ergot problems but with the open autumn and anticipated reduced demand there should be little problem meeting that market too.

Break crop seed supplies should also be more than adequate. "It wasnt a brilliant harvest for peas but there should be plenty available," says Mr Barker.

But the exception could be spring oilseed rape Concept, the only hybrid and earliest variety on the Recommended List. "It will be very tight," notes Mr Barker.

The other issue with oilseed rape seed is flea beetle, he says. No seed treatment is approved for spring use in the UK so stocks must be exported to France or Germany, treated, and then brought back.

"Sellers will have to make a decision early on what they treat so there will only be a limited amount available. We believe a seed treatment is pretty much essential as the crop can get eaten off before it is even through the ground in the spring," he warns. &#42

Supply should not be an issue for most varieties, says Dalgetys national seeds manager Barry Barker.