Wheat seed will likely be in high demand this year, and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler recommends that producers ensure their wheat seed supplies are secured before initiating any contracts for the sale of new crop wheat.

“The current high prices for wheat mean a larger number of producers will likely be looking to grow this crop, and the increased demand may place a strain on wheat seed supplies,” Troxler said. “I strongly encourage North Carolina’s wheat producers to fully confirm their wheat seed supplies before signing contracts for this year. This will potentially prevent problems if supplies are drastically reduced.”

While the availability of wheat seed is not fully known, last year’s reduced wheat acreage, along with less-than-ideal environmental conditions, have contributed to an overall shortage.

At this time, the quality of wheat seed available for planting this year appears to be very good to excellent, said Eddie Martin, administrator of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Seed and Fertilizer Program. Preliminary testing in the NCDA&CS Seed Laboratory has found germination rates exceeding 90 percent, so wheat seed quality should not be an issue for the upcoming season, Martin said.

With wheat seed in high demand this year, many individuals and firms that usually do not offer this crop may be interested in selling any wheat seed they have. There are a few guidelines to keep in mind when considering these types of offerings. Both federal and state laws outline specific handling and labeling requirements for seed, both patented varieties and unprotected varieties. In North Carolina, any person selling seed must be licensed through the NCDA&CS.

Additional information and applications for those who want to register as seed dealers may be obtained by contacting Eddie Martin at (919) 733-3931, by e-mail at Eddie.Martin@ncagr.gov or at NCDA&CS, 1060 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699. Forms may also be downloaded at http://www.ncagr.gov/plantindustry/seedandfertilizer/seed/Index.htm.