CYO Seeds (Midlands) Ltd
T: (01858) 880882
F: (01858) 880553
E: info@cyoseeds.com

We are constantly being asked by our customers about the practicalities of Farm Saving Hybrid Seed.

The following is a summary of the facts as they are at the moment:

Farm Saving of Hybrid Seed is at present not allowed in the EU without the Breeders permission. This is because Hybrids are outside the exemption that allows farmers to save their own seed.

Question and Answers:

  • Question: What will happen to Certified seed prices if Hybrid seed becomes dominant in the marketplace over conventional seed?
  • Answer: At the moment Farm Saved Seed (FSS) is keeping Certified seed prices at a manageable level. However, if FSS declines the breeders will be in a very strong position to dictate prices and Certified seed prices will go up and up for all farmers whether they Farm Save Seed or not.
  • Question: If a farmer asks the breeder for permission to farm save a Hybrid will he/she get it?
  • Answer: No (The breeders won't want to lose their stranglehold on the Hybrid market)
  • Question: Would it grow?
  • Answer: Yes (Both Conventional and Hybrid seed that goes out of the back of the combine always grows and produce plenty of volunteers)
  • Question: Would I get a crop?
  • Answer: Yes (There might be a very slight drop or even slight increase in yield over the F1 Hybrid)
  • Question: Is there any official trials data supporting the claims made by the breeders regarding the resulting crop from farm saved Hybrid seed?
  • Answer: No
  • Question: Why not?
  • Answer: Because they don't want any trials, official or otherwise, to be conducted which could prove their claims to be wrong regarding the resulting crop.

We know the breeders of Hybrid seed won't allow any trials because in my former capacity as the Chairman of the Mobile Seed Section of the NAAC (National Association of Agricultural Contractors) I've asked their formal permission to enable the NAAC to carry out some trials on Farm Saving of Hybrid Seed. All have said a very definite "NO". They do however, make it clear that it's mainly due to protecting their intellectual property rights and income rather than the resulting crop.

Consider this: If farm saved hybrid seed didn't produce a perfectly acceptable crop the breeders wouldn't need an EU Regulation to stop you doing it.

WHY ARE THE PLANT BREEDERS CONCENTRATING SO MUCH ON HYBRIDS AND NOT CONVENTIONAL VARIETIES?

  1. Is it to get the best yields possible out of a crop?
  2. Is it to give the Farmer the best possible technology within their crop?
  3. Is it to feed the world?
  4. Is it for seed security if there's a bad year?
  5. Is it because it makes sense not to continue growing conventional varieties that can satisfy the nations seed requirement if necessary?
  6. Is it because they can't be farm Saved?
  7. Is it because all growers will have to buy new seed each and every year?
  8. Is it so the price can be dictated by suppliers because there's no other supply option for seed?
  9. Is it because they'll make shed loads of money out of the grower and control the markets?
  10. Would so much money still be poured into this technology by the breeders if hybrids could be farm saved?

 

I'm no cynic but I'm sure you can figure out the real answers to the above questions and I'll tell you now there's a lot more YES's than NO's. The huge investment into hybrid technology isn't to save the world or feed the starving either. Be careful what you wish for!!