Short seed wheat sees demand soar

3 October 1997

Short seed wheat sees demand soar

SUPPLIES of certified seed for NABIM group 1 and 2 wheats are tightening fast and prices firming as the effects of weathered crops filter through the trade.

Seed growers with good quality grain are finding all their output, not just contracted amounts, eagerly taken up by merchants.

"Class 1 and 2 wheats are virtually sold out," says David Neale of Dalgety who estimates up to 30% of seed wheat crops in the midlands and further north failed because of heavy rain.

Rialto demand

Demand for Rialto has been particularly strong, with imports from France and Germany helping UK supplies just about keep pace, says Mr Neale. "Hereward is pretty tight everywhere."

Prices generally have hardened by £20-30/t over the past six weeks with added-value types rising by up to £50/t, he says.

Group 3 variety Consort has been well sought after with little more now available. "There is probably enough Riband to go round. Reaper and Brigadier are available in most parts of the country. But if you are going to put them in dont lose sight of the yellow rust pressure." Baytan (fuberidazole + triadimenol) is a wise investment, he suggests.

Apart from Riband, Reaper and Brigadier, which can be had "off the shelf", there is very little choice left, says Jim Black of Banks Agriculture. "If you have got Hereward to sell you can name your own price."

Although relatively few of the companys seed crops succumbed to the weather, yields were generally lower than expected, he notes.

"We were very fortunate as we didnt have a lot of weather problems and lost less than 10% of our seed crops," says Malcolm Williams of Worcester-based co-op MSF. But Beaufort, Consort, and Madrigal, which had a good year, as well as Riband are all less plentiful than originally expected, he says.

"Supplies of Hereward and Spark have dried up, and those of Cadenza, Chablis and even Axona for later sowing are coming under pressure."

C2 Soissons and Rialto, some of which came in from Denmark, have risen £30/t in three weeks and even Riband and Consort have gone up £20/t. "A lot of farm-saved seed growers are ordering because their own crops have not come up to standard."

Varieties oversold

Cargills Peter James believes some varieties, particularly Buster, have been oversold. "There is just not enough C2 seed to fill all orders. Brigadier and Reaper are still available but not in huge amounts."

Hants-based WHD Seeds secretary David Jones confirms the strength of the trade. "Our members are generally finding that with most varieties the whole crop is being taken up."

Lincs-based wholesaler Trevor Cope estimates seed prices of the main added-value varieties have risen 25-30% since the early summer and suggests Imp as a premium earning alternative.

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