October 28, 2010


UK sees record rapeseed plantings and hybrids


Rapeseed plantings and the proportion of the UK crop in hybrid varieties have risen to record highs this season, according to an estimate of UK seed trade sales compiled by Masstock, a provider of serviced agronomy and chemical supply.


Planting estimates show a 5-10% on-year increase in the annual UK winter rapeseed area for 2011 harvest - pushing the national double low crop to its highest level at more than 600,000 hectares.


Meanwhile, following a slight drop off last season, the hybrid share of the certified seed market has risen to over 46%, with a corresponding increase in the hybrid share of overall plantings (including farm saved seed) to 32%.


Masstock national seed business manager Barry Barker said in 2006, hybrids represented just 15% of non-industrial certified seed sales and around 8% of the winter rapeseed area.


"Their market share shot up to 44% and 30% respectively in the very challenging autumn of 2008," he explained.


"Further growth this autumn means almost half of certified seed plantings are currently in hybrid varieties, although farm saving leaves pure lines commanding around two thirds of the total area sown."


He said the recent popularity of hybrids was due to a wider choice of varieties and a growing appreciation of the advantages of the best hybrids in both performance consistency and sowing date flexibility.


Excalibur has regained its crown as the country's top-selling variety again five years after its first recommendation.


Masstock estimates showed a national certified seed market share of over 17% for Excalibur, pushing pure-line leader DK Cabernet (13%) into second place.


"However, DK Cabernet popularity among farm savers meant it continued to take the number one position in total plantings, at around 19% of the area, ahead of Excalibur at 12%, Vision at 10% and Castille and Catana at 7%."


Sesame made an impressive commercial debut to take around 6% of UK plantings, according to estimates. "It will be interesting to see how it performs when grown across broad acres this season," Barker added.

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