22 September 1995

Mixed seasons for rape crop

WINTER oilseed rape yielded 3.37t/ha (1.36t/acre), well ahead of the drought-hit spring crop which managed just 1.9t/ha (0.76t/acre) this year, says Dalgetys commercial manager Trevor Harriman.

Pulses also had a poor year. Beans averaged 3.31t/ha (1.34t/acre) and peas 4t/ha (1.62t/acre). The formers quality was hit by splitting, cracking and mechanical damage at harvest, but peas fared better. "Quality has held up well, with human consumption being very satisfactory."

Late drilling in many areas could push oilseed rape plantings down by 10-15% this autumn, predicts national seed product development manager Paul Rylott. Apex looks set to take up to 65% of the market.

Turnip rapes popularity in the spring rape sector is likely to increase. Overall spring plantings could rally, mainly due to the cutback in autumn plantings.

Peas are likely to increase in popularity in 1996, says national pulse manager Julie Goult. She forecasts 81,600ha (201,600 acres) will be planted. The gain is mainly due to peas better performance this harvest, but is helped by new varieties that can be grown in previous bean strongholds.

But a slide in the bean area to 110,000ha (272,000), 9% down on this year, will mean fewer pulses overall, she adds.