Farming and the processing industry must react positively to customers’ demands for carbon data from growing oilseed rape through to biofuel production, Martin Farrow, ADM Erith general manager told the Norfolk Farming Conference, organised by Anglia Farmers.

Growers would need to supply information on whole farm rapeseed yields, fertiliser use, drying and the history of the land used for production, he suggested. “I see no reason why that data cannot be supplied, and we must be able to supply it – our customers will demand so.”

That was particularly true as of 14 April, when the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation took effect, and would give the UK the opportunity to supply the market with better carbon and sustainability data then any other country in the world, he suggested.

Varieties with high oleic, low linolenic oil profiles would no longer be required to be grown on virgin oilseed rape land, Mr Farrow also told growers.

OSR

UK growers have the opportunity to supply the market with better carbon data than any other country in the world, according to ADM’s Martin Farrow

Demand for the varieties was increasing on the back of industry and government demand for a reduction in trans fatty acids, which are produced when traditional fry oils are hydrogenated to make them more stable and to increase shelf life. Oils from HO,LL varieties do not need that chemical processing.

ADM had been cautiously developing HOLL varieties, marketed under the Vistive brand by Monsanto, over the past two seasons with strict requirements, Mr Farrow said. “We didn’t want to make mistakes, but quality in 2006 and 2007 was good and we can move forward with confidence.”

An initial requirement for the varieties to be grown on virgin oilseed rape land was no longer required. “What we need are good farmers, with good volunteer control, good attention to detail and good agronomy,” he explained.

Yields were lower than conventional varieties, he acknowledged, so premiums had to be competitive. Growers would be offered a choice between a fixed rate premium and a percentage of the final price. “And there will be greater flexibility on movement, which hasn’t been as timely as it could have been in the past.

“It has a big future for farmers with a professional approach to oilseed rape,” he concluded.