15 August 1997

Higher gluco levels threat to IACS cash

FARM-SAVED seed enthusiasts need to be aware that glucosinolate levels in oilseed rape are higher than last year, warns ADAS Laboratories.

That could put IACS payments at risk.

40% of the Apex samples recently sent in by growers have exceeded the 18 micromoles/g threshold for home-saving. 80% of the offerings have been of that variety, which reflects its dominance in the market, says Wolverhampton laboratory consultant, Keith Way.

"The average value for Apex for the first two weeks of testing was 18.7," he says. But by the beginning of August the mean had fallen to 17.7%.

Pressure on growers to make savings has led to interest in having the tests done, he suggests. "We have certainly had much higher numbers of samples in this year, almost twice as many as the same time last year, though that may just reflect harvest dates."

Glucosinolates in Alpine, Arietta, Bristol, Express and Falcon are generally below 18 micromoles/g. Capitol and Inca levels so far have been borderline to high.

More than 18 micromoles

It is not illegal to grow the crop from seed with more than 18 micromoles/g, explains David McKnight, ADAS Crop Centres national manager. "But in order to collect the IACS subsidy you have to prove that you have had the seed tested and get a certificate showing it is below 18 micromoles/g. Growing the crop without area aid is uneconomic." Samples must be taken by an officially licensed sampler, he adds.

The relatively high levels this season could be blamed on a range of different factors, not least the climate, explains Mr Way. "But I have a feeling some fields were swathed a bit early this year," says Mr McKnight.

ADAS offers a £13 + VAT a sample next-day check test, based on the XRF method, to see if a sample is likely to pass the official £50 + VAT test based on the HPLC method. Alternatively, for £32 + VAT it offers a "double-decker" service covering both tests.

"That can be a bit of a gamble," says Mr Way. "But if the sample passes the XRF it works out cheaper." &#42