8 September 1995

Surge for seed as rains lift demand

By Philip Clarke

RECENT rains have led to a rapid rise in farmer demand for seed this week and early booking discounts are fast disappearing.

There has been a particular surge in rapeseed purchases as more seed-beds are completed. And once again it is Apex that growers are after. This variety accounts for about two-thirds of sales on many traders books.

With some merchants being close to sold out on this variety – or at least not taking much more in to put on the floor – prices have firmed to about £6/kg on-farm compared with £5.70 to £5.80 in August. Bristol, the second choice variety, has maintained about a 10p premium.

And as attention shifts to speed of delivery, some growers are also paying an extra 15p for an overnight service.

The picture is similar with cereals as the long-awaited rain encourages more firm bookings. Riband, Brigadier and Hussar are all selling well as standard feeders, according to Kevin Steers of Allied Grain. And in the north, Consort is doing well as a potential replacement for Riband.

But demand for Class 1 wheats has shown a marked downturn, according to BDRs Tim Hirst, accounting for less than 10% of sales so far and reflecting the disappointing milling premiums. (These have been down to £12/t over feed wheat in recent weeks, although this week has seen a recovery to £15 as millers try to tempt more samples off farms.)

"Discounts for larger orders are disappearing as we get into the spot trade," said George Doody of AF.

Most merchants report firm business for Riband at £220 to £225/t recleaned and delivered, rising to £235 to £240 for Brigadier and Hereward. Of the feed barleys, Intro is selling fast and has firmed to £240 to £245/t, with Pastoral and Fighter about £10 cheaper. &#42