Seednet fined $1m over barley claims
The Federal Court has ruled a seed marketing business was sowing dishonesty when it claimed a new variety of barley was stronger and more tolerant to disease.
Landmark-owned Seednet has copped a $1 million fine for telling farmers between December 2014 and December 2016 that Compass barley was better able to stay upright than older varieties.
The business also distributed fact sheets for a year that claimed Compass had more resistance to debilitating leaf rust than it actually did.
The ACCC, which initiated proceedings against Seednet in August, said the company’s conduct had denied grain producers the chance to make an informed decision about what they put on their farms.
“Exaggerated marketing of new agricultural produce is a major concern across the industry,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.
“At the time of the release of a new crop variety, farmers and their agronomists lack other sources of independent information beyond what businesses tell them.”
The court also ordered Seednet to pay $50,000 towards the ACCC’s legal costs.