Sales of wheat seed fall again

By Farmers Weekly staff

SALES of certified wheat seed fell again last autumn, reflecting the push by cereal farmers to cut costs.

Recently released figures by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany show farmers in England and Wales drilled just under 210,000t of certified wheat seed, a fall of 4% on the previous year, says Andrew Mitchell, head of cereal certification at NIAB.

Barley tonnage remained static at just over 63,000t.

The wheat figures continue the trend seen in recent years.

In autumn 1998, sales fell 6%, and half as much again the year before that.

However, Dalgetys Barry Barker reckons the wheat area rose by 12% last autumn.

He calculates growers sowed slightly more farm-saved seed, perhaps about 40%, and cut seed rates in the more open autumn by about 10%. Its a big drop, but its feasible.

Variety figures confirm the big drop in Group 2 plantings picked up by the trade.

These took just 12% of the market.

Reginas high yields and malting potential remain popular with barley men. It now accounts for four out of 10 fields, which could keep pressure on premiums.

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