Trade slates HGCA Lists as ‘ lacklustre’

LACKLUSTRE SUMS up two seed trader reactions to the latest HGCA Recommended Lists, although two others are rather more bullish.

Barring oilseed rape, Brompton winter wheat and Flagon winter barley there is little to get excited about, says Grainfarmers” Tim Hirst.

“We certainly don”t need four new feed spring barleys. It all reflects how CEL is still hell-bent on yield, which is allowing some very dirty stuff to get on.”

The fact that all three winter wheats are Group 4 feed types, including top yielder Glasgow, is not helpful, he adds. “It”s not the way to go when wheat is only 60/t. Growers need quality varieties to get extra margin for the bottom line.

“We shall want to ensure that farmers don”t go overboard for Glasgow. It has leggy weak straw and is susceptible to yellow rust.”

However, with one estimate suggesting orange blossom midge took 6% off last harvest”s yield, Brompton”s resistance makes it a “good addition”.

With barley falling from growers” favour, adding seven new feed varieties is hard to justify, he believes. “The positive is that in Flagon, perhaps, we have a winter malting rival for Pearl, though its stem stiffness is not that good.”

The ability of Lioness, NK Bravour and Castille winter oilseed rapes to stand well and outperform Winner is also welcome, he believes.

Dalgety”s Barry Barker largely agrees. “The only really good news is with the rapes, where we have three varieties delivering the yield of Winner without its bulkiness.”

Unless there is another severe orange blossom midge season, the new winter wheat trio will never account for more than 5% of the area, he adds.

But Allied Grain”s Paul Brown and Banks Cargill”s Peter James are more enthusiastic. “Blossom midge isn”t going to go away and we can”t keep chucking Dursban about,” says Mr Brown.

Glasgow”s weak straw is manageable, its yield advantage cannot be ignored, and it should also find favour with northern distillers, he believes.

Its midge resistance is as good as Brompton”s, adds Mr James.

In Saffron and mosaic-resistant Spectrum winter barley, growers are being offered useful yield lifts, they point out.

The large number of barleys added simply reflects the breeding time lag, says Mr James. “You can”t just turn the tap off.”

See pp44-47 for HGCA views on the new Recommended List additions.