OILSEED RAPE growers must ensure they are aware of their legal requirements when using farm saved seed, the British Society of Plant Breeders has warned.
In particular the BSPB highlights that harvested oilseed rape cannot legally be traded or exchanged between farming businesses for subsequent use as farm-saved seed.
And, where growers collaborate to batch process farm-saved seed, each holding’s seed must be done separately to remain on the right side of the law, it warned.
BSPB also reminds growers that:
- All use of farm-saved seed of protected varieties must be declared to BSPB
- Payment is due for use of all eligible varieties, via a registered seed processor or direct to BSPB
- Hybrid varieties cannot be sown as farm-saved seed without the breeders permission
- Farm-saved seed must be produced and saved within the same farming business
The warning is part of the ‘Fair Play’ campaign, launched at Cereals 2005, which aims to crack down on the “illegal abuse of plant breeders’ intellectual property”, said BSPB chairman, Chris Green.
Farm-saved seed accounts for some 50% of oilseed rape sown, so it is a significant issue, he said.
“Around 10% of the total royalty income plant breeders should receive is lost through non-payment or mis-declaration on farm-saved seed, and this is simply not sustainable.”
The BSPB says it has improved arrangements for identifying and tackling evasion and persistent offenders could face court action, a criminal conviction and “substantial financial penalties”, it warned.
Details of the Fair Play campaign, eligible varieties and payment rates are available via www.fairplay.org.uk