Beet growers to have choice of seed supplier for first time

Sugar beet growers have for the first time a choice of suppliers when ordering their seed this autumn, offering benefits of seed technology for the 2020 crop.

Up to now, farmers growing crops under contract with British Sugar had to use seed supplied via Germains Seed Technology.

But a new agreement means growers have the option of seed processed and pelleted by KWS.

Ben Bishop, KWS sugar beet country manager for the UK, highlighted that for the first-time growers had a genuine choice in pelleting technologies.

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“Thousands of hectares of KWS own-brand seed have been purchased and grown by a limited number of farms over the past two seasons,” he said. This choice will now be extended to all growers for drilling in spring 2020.

Benefits to breeders include full breeder accountability for the seed once it is on farm and the opportunity to purchase seed for re-drilling for any reason at 50% of the invoice price.

It also means UK growers have access to KWS seed processing and priming technology in line with their Continental counterparts.

Several years of trials overseen by the BBRO have shown that the KWS pelleting process, known as EPD2.0, performs strongly in the UK.

Growers will be able to express their preference for KWS’s seed technology on their seed order form.

However, the agreement with the Seed Working Group relates specifically to KWS’ range of classical varieties, such as Daphna and Sabatina. It does not include the herbicide-tolerant varieties known as Conviso Smart.

In addition, the agreement does not include the right for the breeder to set prices for its products on farm, as these will continue to be set by the Seed Working Group.