IFA National Grain Chairman Mark Browne has welcomed the move by some cereal seed companies to increase the premium paid to seed growers.
The Grain Chairman said it was a positive first step towards improving the economic sustainability of the sector. He called on all seed companies to follow this lead, and improve the terms and conditions of their seed contracts.
Members of the IFA grain committee have held meetings with both the Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) and individual seed companies regarding issues in the sector.
IFA has stressed that the prevailing premiums on seed production are not sustainable. Previous returns for specialist seed growers have not reflected the extra costs and work associated with seed versus conventional production.
According to official figures, Irish seed growers produced 64,000 tonnes of seed from 8,500 ha in 2019. 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 blackgrass.
Mark Browne concluded by saying, “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”.