Following the remarkable success of Mammoth millet over the years, Soya UK will be placing further acreage on full buy-back contract for Mammoth millet next Spring.
In 2004 we embarked on a series of trials with 12 growers taking part in commercial trials of a new variety of white millet (also known as proso millet) called "Mammoth" millet. Mammoth performed very well and more than met our highest expectations. Mammoth is a very productive, short-season crop and even in the cold, wet seasons of 2007, 2012 and 2019, the crop was harvested within an acceptable time frame. After almost 20 years of success, we have concluded that the crop is here to stay. Once again, we are placing contract acreage for next spring.
Greatly increased prices for 2023 due to the war in Ukraine
Ukrainian millet usually supplies around 70% of the UK's requirement which is principally used in the bird seed trade. The war in Ukraine has prevented the normal shipment of millet, and has meant that there is substantial market demand for millet, as traders have switched to using UK-grown millet where they can find it.
The situation has also created a major shift in the value of the crop. Historically, Millet for the bird seed trade has traded at a value around £80 to £100 over the value of feed wheat. As of spring 2023, we are seeing values ex-farm of £425 per tonne. This is roughly £200 over feed wheat, and this has transformed the economics of the crop. You can download a gross margin here.
Mammoth Millet - Arable contract growers wanted
This situation means that we are seeking a substantial increase in our contract acreage.
Mammoth is the highest yielding, early harvesting variety.
Good standing ability.
Cheap and easy to grow.
No significant pests or disease.
Very good break crop.
High value niche market.
130 - 135 day crop for dry combining.
Markets prefer UK-grown crop.
Very attractive gross margin.
Our experience over a number of years with this crop, has stood us in good stead. We now have a well developed agronomy model which is very simple and highly effective using familiar chemistry. Disease is not a significant issue with millet, and normally no fungicides are used. Seed yields are in the range of 1.00 -1.85 tonnes per acre (2.5 to 4.5 tonnes per Ha), with typical yields of a good crop at 1.5 tonnes/acre.
Mammoth is exclusive to Soya UK, and is being produced under full buy-back contracts.
OSR Growers know the frustration and difficulty of realising late in the spring, that a crop of OSR isn't going to be viable. This creates the dilemma of what to do - especially if the ground has been sprayed with autumn herbicides such as Kerb.
Mammoth Millet is not sown until early May, and can be direct drilled or sown after failed rape with minimal cultivations. Furthermore, the Millet now arguably offers as good or better a gross margin than OSR anyway - thus putting things back on track.
Backgrass control without the chemicals
Because Mammoth Millet is late sown and very competitive, it out-competes Blackgrass very effectively. Many growers on heavy land will grow Mammoth Millet specifically to suppress Blackgrass without using precious chemistry which needs to be used sparingly to avoid resistance.
Millet can also be grown for Anaerobic Digestion
This is a harvest report from a grower in Kent who grew Mammoth for anaerobic digestion:- "We planted the crop on the 15th May. The crop received 250 kgs/ha 20.10.10 and 50 kgs/ha urea all on the seed bed. We did one weedkiller of Bromoxynil around about 6 leaf. We harvested on 15th September. Yield was 10t/ac fresh weight and as you can see from the analysis with a dry matter of 32% a gas yield of approx 170 m3/t.
We feel we could have done better yield wise with a few tweaks on the growing front, however, harvesting was very easy and given the amount of rain we had over the summer the crop was standing whereas the triticale/vetch mix fell over and was a challenge to harvest. All in all we are encourage by the this first time and will try some more next year."