AberMagic seed crop in its second year, 1 week away from harvest at M and R Morton, Hinton Ampner, Hampshire.
Why consider growing herbage seed?
Why consider it now?
- Review of cropping options essential due to changes to agricultural support regimes.
- Strong and increasing demand for high quality British-bred Aber varieties.
- Competitive margins when compared with other crops, including wheat and oilseed rape.
- Provides alternative grass weed control options
- £1000 - £1500/ha gross margins are achievable.
- Excellent break crop from cereals and oilseed rape.
- Additional income from grazing, silage or hay.
- Potential for two years of seed production per crop.
- Expert advice provided free to growers by Germinal GB.
- Boosts soil organic matter levels by as much as 50 tonnes/ha due to breakdown of roots and other material.
- Extending rotation improves yields of following crops and allows seed production opportunities for Cereals.
Growing herbage seed
- Select fields that have not grown grass for at least four years and where grass weeds (e.g. couch, blackgrass) are not a significant problem.
- Observe specific isolation requirements from other ryegrass crops.
- Sow in the autumn for first harvest the following summer, or undersow in the spring for first harvest in summer of the following year.
- Exploit forage income potential from sheep grazing in first winter, sheep/cattle grazing after first harvest, silage cut in first spring (hybrid ryegrasses only).
- Apply fertiliser and sprays as recommended for the crop.
- Direct combine, swath and pick up, or use a stripper header to harvest.
- Bale hay aftermath for home use or sale.
- Dry the crop using on-floor drying to a maximum moisture content of 14%. Avoid applying heat directly to the seed.
- Store the crop in cool and dry conditions until collection in bulk.
- All cleaning and certification carried out by Germinal GB.
Red clover coming into flower. M and R Morton, Hinton Ampner, Hampshire.
Annual Variable Costs
- Variable costs are dependent on variety, seed, fertiliser and chemical usage, but are typically in the region of £500/ha (at current prices) for a first-year crop, considerably less for the second year, including inspection and certification charges.
- £1500 plus per ha is achievable
- Grazing income: up to £60/ha
- Hay/silage income: up to £150/ha, depending on the season.
- Opportunities to grow early generation crops for multiplication, with an enhanced final price.
- AberHSG varieties command a premium over other Herbage seed crops
- All crops are grown under contract to Germinal GB.
- Payments to the grower are structured as follows:
- 40% November.
- 40% March.
- Final 20% June.
- A proportion of Cleaning and Certification charges are charged back to the grower, the rate is determined by purity of seed at intake.