Combine harvesting oilseed rape© Tim Scrivener

Oilseed rape yields are looking good, averaging about 3.6t/ha so far, with about 10% of the nationwide harvest already in the barn.

After a good start to harvest, David Leaper, seed technical manager at distributor Agrri, estimated about 50-60% of the crop was already cut in southern and south-eastern England.

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“We are seeing a good average yield of 3.6t/ha nationally, and this could move towards 4t/ha as the harvest progresses,” he told Farmers Weekly.

This compared with an average yield of 3.65t/ha nationally at harvest 2014, with the highest ever average in 2011 at 3.91t/ha, while the five-year average is 3.5t/ha.

Richard Elsdon, technical manager at farming co-operative United Oilseeds, has seen some big yields and said a national average of 3.7 to 3.8t/ha could be achievable.

The AHDB estimated that a slightly higher area of the oilseed rape had been cut up to 28 July, at 15% of the nationwide crop, with early yields above average at 3.5-3.7t/ha.

The oilseed rape area for this harvest had fallen for the third successive year to 627,000ha due to low rapeseed prices and rising growing costs, and experts believed the area will fall next season to 600,000ha or below.