25 July 1997

Test seed, savers told

FARMERS could cut up to £100/t from seed costs by having farm-saved seed disease-tested before choosing a seed treatment.

That is the message from NIABs Jane Thomas. "Treatment prices start at around £40/t and rise to £100/t. Yet, for a small seed batch of just five tonnes, the cost of a single fusarium test for example, is equivalent to under £10/t."

Farmers sowing their own seed should test for diseases which local knowledge suggests might be a high risk, says Dr Thomas.

NIAB seed testing is priced per sample, not per tonne. One sample – which can represent up to 25t of seed – costs £48 for a loose smut check, £52 for a combined leaf stripe and net blotch and £48 for fusarium, for example. Contact: 01223 276381.