30-06-2014 11:33 AM | Arable, Crops, News

Winter barley likely to take up oilseed rape slack in uncertain seed market



Winter barley could take up the predicted drop in oilseed rape plantings this autumn, says Nidera UK seed manager Russell Frost.

And with many growers holding back cropping decisions until they see harvest results and understand more fully the implications of the new EFA rules, the seed trade could face a late buying market this year.

“The only thing that’s sold out at the moment is marrowfat peas but there will be more available once harvest gets fully underway.

“There’s a fair amount of deliberation going on in growers’ minds at the moment and many are only just coming to terms with what all the recent changes mean to them.”


Whilst the overall area of wheat and the balance of milling to feed varieties within it is likely to remain fairly static, some interesting developments in seed preferences are taking shape, he says.

“Disease resistance is starting to be the major issue for growers and this is increasingly evident in their buying.

“Skyfall is dominating the milling wheat sector not just because of its significant yield advantage, but also because the disease resistance of many other group ones is breaking down – particularly with regard to rusts.

“Growers are looking for different genetic backgrounds in their wheats to avoid disease problems and it’s the same in feed wheats too.”

Virtually all milling wheat growers are using Skyfall with many choosing Gallant and Solstice as back-ups, Russell Frost says.

“Although there are some promising varieties in the wings like Trinity and Lilly that could match its yield, Skyfall can only strengthen its hold as seed supplies build up.”

Another visibly dominant variety is the hybrid oilseed rape Incentive, which is currently top of both East/West and Northern region HGCA Recommended Lists.

“Incentive’s got the best gross output and establishment properties but it’s its consistency and ability to perform anywhere and everywhere that really sets it apart.

“For those people sticking with a conventional, Trinity and Charger seem to be in roughly equal demand.”

But uncertainty still looms over the final acreage of oilseed rape to be planted, he says.

“A lot of people are holding back as the prices have moved down and there are concerns over the loss of neonicotinoids.

“Once harvested, people won’t want to leave bare soil so it’s probable winter barley could be the choice for many and we’re seeing significant interest in this now.”

Whilst Tower and Cassia are in greatest demand, there’s growing interest in the hybrid Volume because of its effect on blackgrass.

“Many people won’t be making up their minds until the last minute, however, and this could put a lot of pressure on the trade so supplies could be difficult later.”

And whilst the recent announcement of new EFA rules has created a rush on peas, there’s still plenty of beans to go around, Russell Frost says.

“There’s been almost instant demand for more leguminous crops, but it’s still difficult to detect any meaningful changes in seed buying patterns as a result of the three crop rule.”

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