NON-FOOD CROP prospects received a boost at Smithfield as a new contract for oilseed rape for electricity generation was announced.

Yorks-based Springdale Group is looking for 4,000ha (10,000 acres) of spring rape to be signed up for the coming spring, with a further 20,000ha (50,000 acres) of the winter crop set to be contracted next autumn.

Sales manager James Mackay said: “This is a landmark opportunity for farmers to grow at a known price for an identified market – exactly as they are being encouraged to do under CAP reforms.”

The spring rapeseed contract guarantees to buy 20% of the crop at £150/t. Growers will also be able to claim the government’s energy crop payment of £30/ha (£12/acre).

 Springdale will pay a further bonus for rape with an oil content greater than 40%.