Certified wheat and barley seed costs in Alberta have increased over the past 12 months with more increases likely to occur in 2022.
‘Seed is a significant input cost each spring for Alberta farmers,’ says Ryan Furtas, market analyst with Alberta Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development. ‘Farmers are not required to purchase certified seed for their wheat and barley acres, but many farmers do choose to plant a portion of their acreage using certified seed.’
Barley seed recently jumped 8% month over month and is 26% higher than its 5-year average. The wheat price increase has been slower. Currently, wheat seed is just 9% higher than the 5- year average, with a 3% month over month increase.
‘Wheat prices have not increased as dramatically as barley in the past 6 months. The warm dry growing season led to good quality seed in 2021. The previous years of 2019 and 2020 had higher seed volumes produced, but also had higher instances of disease and relatively lower germination rates.’
Wheat seed prices for 2022 are at a 5-year high but, compared to the increase of commercial prices, seed prices have not moved much higher. Currently, the average wheat seed price is $62 per 100 kg, which is $5 per 100 kg or 9% higher than the 5-year average of $57 per 100 kg.
Barley certified seed cost has made a jump to $54 per 100 kg, a 26% increase over the 5-year average of $43 per 100 kg.
‘High cash prices and low yields throughout the Prairie provinces are the main driving factors of the cereal seed cost increase,’ explains Furtas. ‘Despite the low inventories, 2021 cereal seed is good quality, with samples of each showing relatively strong germination and very low instances of disease such as fusarium.’
Figure 1. Alberta wheat and barley certified seed prices 2017-2021, Canadian $ per 100 kg
‘There are several good reasons to use certified seed,’ says Furtas. ‘The primary reason is to gain access to new varieties with improved genetics. The cost of certified seed can be offset with improved yields, harvest advantages and lower instances of disease.’
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