22 September 1995

Wheat plantings up but milling share declines

MORE wheat will be planted this autumn thanks to further set-aside cuts, plus this years high yields and good gross margins, Dalgety predicts. Winter barley will also gain from a good harvest and continued strong demand for malt.

That could amount to a 4.2% increase in cereal plantings, says national cereal seed manager, David Neale.

But group 1 and 2 milling wheats are likely to fall a further 2% this year, to 23% of the total wheat area. Current low premiums which are unable to make up for higher feed wheat yields are blamed.

Hereward will dominate the milling sector, thanks to its better yield and acceptability compared with competitors (see chart).

Soft wheats will lose some 4% share, to take 38%. This is despite Consort arriving with its "long term improvement" over Riband and Riband maintaining market dominance overall at 25%, he suggests.

Hard feed wheats

Of the hard feed wheats, Brigadier will remain popular due to its "excellent" performance this year. Hussar and Buster will also figure strongly, he adds.

Barley could enjoy a further 3% increase. "Several factors are affecting farmer preference – time available for drilling, yield consistency, variety improvement and excellent malting premiums," says Mr Neale.

Winter malting barleys are already selling out. They will take 30% of winter plantings this season, he predicts. Feed varieties are selling well too. Fighter is popular, and Pastoral and Intro will maintain their position.

Malting varieties, dominated by Chariot at 28% and Cooper at 13%, will account for a massive 92% of the spring barley area next spring. Tight seed supplies are forecast.