The autumn drilling season went accordingly for growers across the UK. Initially, it was expected that the area of spring crops would be vast due to the continued battle with grass weeds such as blackgrass. For spring drilling to be successful in overcoming grass weeds, just like winter drilling, it is best to delay sowing until late March or even later.
It is advised that where grass weeds are a not a significant problem, spring cereals and beans all do well sown in late February or, on heavier soils, early March and preparation for this will need to start soon, if weather conditions allow.
The autumn disease seen in winter cereals has not been too detrimental and this is mostly due to cold weather. However with fungicide programmes starting next month disease levels should be monitored closely as plans for the fungicide campaign are formulated.
Broad leaved weed populations in winter cereals should also be assessed. Most of the spring sulfonylurea products can be used from February 1st and these are relatively low cost. Cleavers should be treated sooner rather than later if the population is high; otherwise it could be delayed until later in the spring.
Overview of Autumn Seed
Over 241,000 tonnes have been certified to date. This provisional certified weight is equivalent to 64% of harvest 2015’s 376,268 certified tonnage.
The majority of spring seed will be certified over the next few months resulting in final weights certified from 2016 being published in the early Summer.
Reduced weights of winter wheat are being reported with 163,784 tonnes being certified, a 10% reduction from Autumn 2015.
Skyfall now holds the largest market share (10.6%) with the market share of JB Diego declining for its second year by 3.9%, to 9.6%.
The production of Reflection significantly reduced in 2016 due to its breakdown to Yellow Rust. Reflection now holds only 3% of the market share with 4,981 tonnes compared to a market share of 9.6% in 2015 with 16,828 tonnes certified. Reports suggest another reason for its reduction could be a result of the increase in production of the hard group four variety, Graham.
Surprisingly, after the poor performance of Winter Barley, its area reduced by just 1.8% with the provisional weight of winter barley certified at 45,464 tonnes (including Hybrid Barley).
The largest market share is held by KWS Tower, a two row feed variety which holds 19.3% of the market. KWS Glacier and Cassia have declined holding market shares of 18% and 13.1%.
The production of KWS Glacier reduced from 14,028 tonnes certified in 2015 to 8,200 tonnes in 2016. The feed varieties KWS Infinity and KWS Orwell held market shares of 5.6% and 2.7%, both production increases.
Bazooka and Volume, both Hybrid varieties, have continued to increase their market share at 7.9% and 6.3%.
Sunningdale and Funky are recently recommended six row barley’s which have been introduced with small volumes; Sunningdale 216 tonnes and Funky 48 tonnes, being certified in 2016.
The dominant winter oat variety remains to be Mascani with a market share of 63.4% which results to 4,744 tonnes. RGT Lineout production increased with 682 tonnes giving a 9.1% market share. The production of varieties Gerald and Dalguise have taken a slower pace which has resulted in reduced market shares of 12.6% and 7.1% which are decreases of -6.4% and -4.9%.
The varieties RGT Victorious and Griffin have increased in production with C1 and C2 seed certified in 2016.
The area of certified winter beans has been reduced and is down 310 ha. This is now having an impact on certified weights with 4,705 tonnes being certified to date. The variety Tundra from Limagrain continued to increase its market share despite the overall reduction, and has a market share of 56.3% with 2,648 tonnes certified.
The production of Wizard declined in 2016 with has a market share of 35.2%, down 20.5%.
As predicted, the price of spring seed is steadily increasing with some barley varieties such now going onto farm at £450 per tonne. Not surprisingly, with premium contracts, low input costs and ability to supress blackgrass, spring barley has been the main interest with large volumes in particular going into areas of high blackgrass.
Spring peas are also gaining interest early in the season with many taking quick cover to ensure supply.
Spring oats are fast selling out, with main varieties Canyon & Aspen now proving difficult to access. We still have a good supply of new variety Yukon which is new to this years Recommended List.
Interest in spring wheat is steady with good supplies of Mulika and Anabel, but we still predict the higher yielding varieties such as KWS Alderon and KWS Kilburn will sell out shortly.