18 August 1995

More growers sought for erucic acid rape

INDUSTRIAL crop specialist Kings of Coggershall is looking for more growers to plant high erucic acid oilseed rape this autumn.

This years contract (for harvest 1996) offers £165/t ex-farm, with all oilseed collected by the end of November. A set-aside payment of £138/acre (the same as for 1995) is also available, although the exact figure will depend on green rate changes by next July.

If the set-aside area is cut once the crop is sown, Kings will still pay £165/t for any "surplus" crop, even though the area it is grown on will then qualify for the higher area aid subsidy.

Contracted growers (of which there are currently about 400) pay for the seed at a cost of £6.75/kg for varieties Martina, Askari and/or Industry.

The oilseed is toll-crushed for Kings and the oil delivered to Croda Universal in Hull where it is converted into erucimide – a non-slip agent for polythene.

"It is the one industrial crop which is sustainable even without subsidies," claims Kings director, Francis Nicholls. The market, which really opened when traditional imports from China and eastern Europe dried up, is still growing at about 5% a year. &#42