Oilseed rape is yielding well across most of Europe, with hybrid crops outperforming traditional varieties, according to plant breeder Dekalb.


Farmers in France, Hungary and Nordic countries had cut about 80% of the oilseed rape crop, with Bulgaria about 60% through, said Anne Williams, Dekalb’s West Europe OSR manager.

Harvest in Germany and the UK had been held up due to wet weather, with about 30% of the crops cut. “We should see the bulk of it off by the middle of next week.”

But the Baltic States were only just starting to combine rapeseed. “They’re about two weeks behind us.

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how good the yields have been across Europe. Anything that established well in the autumn has come through the dry spring superbly.

“It doesn’t matter which country you’re in, the hybrids have done better; they’re just bred to be tougher.”

Dekalb’s Expower variety had performed well, at 4-6.5t/ha (1.6-2.6t/acre) on trial plots, said Ms Williams. “There are quite a lot of 5t/ha (2t/acre) crops across whole fields too.”

North East Germany had suffered from the worst outbreak of phoma stem canker since the late 1980’s, she added. “It will have wiped out whole crops in some cases, and yields will be down by 20% on average in that area.”

Storms in central and Northern France had also caused extensive pod shatter. “You can lose up to 30% of the crop in some varieties, which is soul destroying just a few days before harvest.”