Need for seed no concern

Need for seed no concern


Agribusiness
Justin Kudnig, Pacific Seeds, says there are good supplies of hybrid canola seed this season.

Justin Kudnig, Pacific Seeds, says there are good supplies of hybrid canola seed this season.

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The seed production industry is confident there will be no broadscale shortages of seed before this autumn's plant.

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SEED processing and retail businesses are confident there will be sufficient supplies of seed for virtually all major crop types this season, in spite of the drought and its impact on seed production.

Overall, seed companies expect, given the ongoing dry in the north and high cereal prices, farmers will generally opt for lower risk crops such as wheat and barley.

Other popular options will include oats, due to the strong demand for oaten hay and the ability to generate an income even with a dry spring, and niche crops such as faba beans, which are currently at record prices.

On the other end of the scale, canola seed distributors expect plantings to be down if autumn remains dry, due both to pricing and fears of a dry start to the planting season, while there is also likely to be a lower plant of chickpeas if conditions persist in the northern heartland of the crop.

Dan Vater, general manager of marketing with plant breeding business AGT, said there had been steady demand for the company's wheat varieties.

"We are focused on the wheat side of things so we haven't seeen what is happening in the barley space, but things have been ticking along much as usual," Mr Vater said.

"In the north there has probably been a little bit of a push towards shorter season varieties due to concerns about the season they are looking for a lower risk option."

Through the south he said farmers were looking at Clearfield options, such as the new Razor CL line, as farmers worked through potential plantback risks due to a lack of summer rain to break down herbicides planted in 2018.

Also attracting interesting is the new dual-purpose winter wheat Illabo, a Wedgetail replacement.

Aaron Giason, sales and business development manager with Baker Seed Company, based in Rutherglen, north-eastern Victoria, said there had been good demand for barley, due to both the price and its reliability in dry years.

He said final demand would depend upon the break.

"People are largely set in their rotation but that will swing around a bit depending on how things look at planting."

Mr Giason said there was solid demand for hay oats, but said fears late last year there would be no hay oat seed available seemed to be off the mark.

"For instance we have supplies of the dual purpose hay / milling oat Yallara, it's been popular but the prediction there would be just no seed about does not seem to be right."

In the pulse space Nick Goddard, Pulse Australia, said he expected it to be difficult to get faba bean seed.

"Everyone is after faba beans, from end users to people looking to plant, and last year was a fairly small plant so there might be a bit of difficulty getting hold of seed with indications that people, where suited, might use faba beans as their pulse phase in the rotation where they may normally grow lentils or something like that."

He said there would still be a chickpea plant in the northern zone, but said the size of that would depend on the season conditions.

"I don't think there will be much pressure on seed in that space."

Pacific Seeds canola business manager Justin Kudnig it was a different story to this time last year when hybrid canola seed was in short supply.

"Last year was a really good year for hybrid seed production on irrigation.

"We had really good yields from the seed crops and there is plenty of seed about, obviously some of the more popular varieties are starting to sell out but overall supplies are really good."

At present, he said Pacific Seeds was planning for around a 10-15 per cent drop in canola plantings, but added this figure could rise if there was a late break.

"Obviously people like to get canola in early, so if things stay dry through autumn like some forecasters are saying then that figure could drop further, but at this stage it is too early to fully tell."

The story Need for seed no concern first appeared on Farm Online.

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