5 September 1997

Triticale finds marginal niche

TRITICALE is finding a niche as a crop to help growers maintain gross margins on marginal land.

That is the message from Dalgety which has already doubled sales of its variety Binova for this autumn. "The whole market is growing and we have grown our market share too," says seeds manager David Neale.

Compared with a second or third wheat on a marginal site triticale can provide an attractive yield and guaranteed buy-back market valued at £3/t under feed, he explains. Commercial results show triticale can yield 6.9t/ha (2.8t/acre) on Cotswold brash, outdoing wheat.

One downside is a greater risk of ergot. Although the danger is not as severe as with rye, good control of grass weeds is important.

Cost of treated Binova seed is £495/t. Seed regulations mean only C1 is available, but Mr Neale believes seed costs will fall in future.

Mr Neale expects Binova to take 30% of the anticipated 10,000ha (25,000 acre) total triticale area this autumn. &#42