Breeders issue autumn seed supply warning difficulties

By Tom Allen-Stevens

Autumn seed supplies should be ordered as soon as possible to avoid missing out on chosen varieties, warn seed breeders.

Low plantings last year and a high demand for early-sown cereals this autumn will result in tight supplies of seed.

Forecasts put next years cereal area at between 1.7m ha and 2.3m ha, a rise of over 40%.

Varieties most at risk from running short are the new rising stars of the NIAB Recommended List.

High-yielding feed wheat Tanker, new quality wheat Xi-19 and group two variety Option are tipped to be popular requests this year.

“The demand for Option will be around 17,000t, but we only have enough to supply about 13,000t,” says PBICs John Howie.

But Mr Howie believes that: “many growers were stung by being unable to drill the seed they had ordered last year, so are reluctant to make advance orders.”

Peter Croot, seeds manager for Banks Cargill, has almost sold out of Tanker and Xi-19, but shares concerns that orders have been slow.

Early signs are that seed will also cost more. Varieties such as Charger are already trading at 260/t, nearly 40/t above last years stable value.

Banks Cargills new state-of-the-art seed plant at Sandy, Beds, could ease the pressure over early seed supply.

At 60t/hour, it has the fastest throughput of any in the UK, says chairman Richard Banks.

The company hopes to run 18,000t of seed this autumn through the new plant, which at full capacity could process 30,000t over the same period.

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