Paying Royalties – A Fair Return on Farm Saved Seed
- Farmer’s are obliged by law to pay royalties and prevented from trading in Farm Saved Seed. This legislation underpins an investment in plant breeding to allow for higher yielding, resilient and more disease resistant varieties. It is enforced by officials of the Department of Agriculture, Food & The Marine and The Plant Variety Development Office CLG.
Farmers must declare use of FSS for Winter sown or cover crops by 31st January and Spring crops by 30th June each year. If you do not file and pay by the above dates you will no longer be entitled to the reduced FSS royalty rate of 50%.
Please note if you have a nil return for 3 years we will not issue self declaration forms, but should you use FSS in future, it is your obligation to declare its use.
Hybrid Varieties – The law on plant variety rights specifies that F1 hybrid varieties cannot legally be used as farm saved seed without the breeder’s consent, regardless of end use.
Using seed as part of a cover crop must be declared – Although cover crops are not taken to harvest, a farm-saved seed payment is still due once the crop has been planted.
The quantity of seed sown is the basis for royalty payment – the seeding rate is irrelevant. Sowing at a higher seeding rate is common to mitigate against risk of FSS not performing as well as certified seed.
Farm-saved seed payments become due at the point of sowing and all FSS use must be declared on time, regardless of the outcome or use of the crop.
Regardless of whether a crop is taken to harvest, the seeds regulations and farm-saved seed rules apply. You must use either certified seed purchased from a licensed seed merchant or farm-saved seed produced on your own holding. In the case of farm-saved seed, if you are using an eligible variety the FSS payment will be due on sowing regardless of whether the crop is taken to harvest.
There is a legal obligation on all multipliers of seed to pay royalties be they a merchant producing certified seed or a farmer saving his/her own seed.
Farmers however, currently only pay 50% of the royalty paid by merchants. Which equates to approx €1 per tonne of grain produced., so for a small contribution in royalties farmers are securing their future with the supply of varieties suitable to Irish conditions. Without the return of this royalty for the Irish declared area of crops, there is less interest from the breeding sector in catering for Irish production.
We aim to ensure all farmers contribute fairly for the benefits of improved varieties, bred for our markets and growing conditions. Farm-saved seed payments are crucial to support investment in plant breeding.
Farmers need access to new varieties for:
· improved yields
· quality and disease resistance
· coping with emerging challenges such as climate change
· mitigating against loss of key crop protection tools
If in doubt about your legal obligations when using farm saved seed, please contact the Plant Variety Development Office CLG.
For more information on certified seed, please visit the Irish Seed Trade Association web site.