Oilseed rape yields have been rather disappointing, given how well crops looked earlier in the year, according to Owen Cligg at United Oilseeds.

“Yields are pretty variable; they’re generally disappointing in the South and improving further north,” he said.

“Overall, they’re probably averaging just below 3.5t/ha, which is about on par with the five-year average, but people were expecting more as the crops were well established and podded nicely.”

PR46W21 was performing fairly well, as was Charger in the East of England, said Mr Cligg. “Incentive seems to be quite good too, but as it’s a new variety there’s not much grown.”

See also: Farmer Focus: Weighing up next year’s oilseed rape varieties.

Oil contents, however, were good, with most samples testing at 44-48%, he added. “Most crops have been coming in dry – but I know one or two farms have lost a lot to hail and storm damage.”

The rapeseed harvest was about 30-40% complete south of a line between Bristol and the Wash, with not much cut further north, said Mr Cligg.

“The best yields are coming from Norfolk at the moment. Perhaps the later developing crops had better weather,” he added.

“In May, we didn’t have very much sun, and had quite a lot of rain – maybe that affected the seed set.

“There were a lot of pods; so plenty of potential, but there are a lot of small seeds coming in, so perhaps the thick canopies prevented the bottom pods from filling properly.”