Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

Scarcity of seed

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Many popular varieties of winter barley and winter wheat seed have already been sold out as tillage growers clamour to increase winter crop sowings.

After two years of declining winter crop acreage, the trend looks set to be reversed.

Seed supplies for popular varieties such as Cassia and Saffron have been sold out at wholesale level, according to Donal Fitzgerald of Goldcrop, although there are still supplies of the 2010 newcomer Anisette available.

Supplies of the six-row variety Leibniz, are also scarce.

"There was an early run on certain varieties," explained Mr Fitzgerald.

"There was a greater uptake on those supplies and some people are getting anxious about securing the variety they want."

Supplies of winter wheat seed are also under pressure, with Grafton and JB Diego sold out at wholesale level and Sahara close to being sold out. Alchemy is still available, albeit from a low assembly. Teagasc tillage expert Jim O'Mahony predicted there would be a considerable increase in the acreage of winter crops sown for the 2011 harvest.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we got close to 30,000ha of winter barley for 2011," he said.

Also Read

Some 20,000ha of winter barley was harvested in 2008 and 2009, rising to 25,000ha in 2010.

Falling acreages of winter wheat could also bounce back. Winter wheat accounted for 81,000ha in the 2008 harvest, 61,000ha in the 2009 harvest and just 50,000ha this year.

"We could possibly get back up close to the 80,000ha mark for winter wheat in 2011," he maintained.

Higher prices and a positive outlook for next year's harvest have contributed to the higher winter plantings, as has the good weather for sowing.

Irish Independent