Increase in seed premium from some companies welcomed

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has welcomed the move by some seed companies to increase the premium paid to seed growers.

AgriLand understands that some companies have agreed to an increase in the premium paid for seed and that the yield threshold that qualifies for the premium has also been adjusted upwards from 7t/ha to 8t/ha.

It is important to note that the premium paid for seed varies between crops, varieties and the seed company buying the crop.

IFA National Grain chairman Mark Browne has welcomed the move by some cereal seed companies to increase the premium paid to seed growers.

In a statement, Browne described it as “a positive first step towards improving the economic sustainability of the sector”.

The Co. Wexford man called on all seed companies to follow this lead, and improve the terms and conditions of their seed contracts.

The IFA’s Grain Committee has held meetings with both the Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) and individual seed companies regarding issues in the sector.

Seed production needs to be sustainable

The organisation stressed that the prevailing premiums on seed production are not sustainable.

The statement from the IFA continued: “Previous returns for specialist seed growers have not reflected the extra costs and work associated with seed versus conventional production.”

64,000t of Irish seed produced in 2019

The IFA noted that Irish seed growers produced approximately 64,000t of seed from 8,500ha in 2019 and added that this seed is grown to a higher voluntary standard than required under EU specifications.

In addition to the basic EU requirements, Irish seed has zero tolerances for wild oats, sterile brome and black-grass.

Browne stated: “Due to our higher plant health standards it is vital that the Irish seed sector be maintained and protected in the context of the overall sustainability of the Irish tillage sector.”

Seed growers to ask about premium

In conversation with the IFA, AgriLand understands that the organisation expects other companies to follow with this premium and increase in tonnage and urged seed growers to ask the individual company that they deal with if they are implementing the changes.