24 July 2002

Early OSRgets

off to a flying start…

OILSEED rape yields from the Humber southwards have got off to a tremendous start with yields well above the long-term average for most.

"At Cirencester the mean yield across 20 varieties was 3.5t/ha last year," says ARCs Mike Carver. "This year it is 4.59t/ha. That is a whopping increase."

Rain in June on the light land site was probably the key, but ARC trials on heavy land at Kettering, Northants and Great Carlton, Lincs, the only other two sites taken as of Tuesday, are also ahead overall.

Hybrids are doing well but they are not streets ahead of conventional varieties. "In all our trials so far there is a conventional variety there or thereabouts with them," notes Dr Carver.

Northants-based agronomist and farmer Justin Blackwood says it is a good year for the crop in his area, too, especially for one hybrid.

"Most interesting is Disco. On one of my farms we will be disappointed if it isnt doing 2t/acre."

But that is only based on trailers off the field and it is early days with barely a quarter of the crop cut locally earlier this week, he stresses.

In East Yorks Farmcares Colin Walker also reports some cracking oilseed rape yields off heavy land near Goole.

"We have done about 450 acres and it is averaging about 2t/acre. We have not grown any here for the past five years, but it used to only ever do 1-1.5t/acre."

Frustratingly, rain stopped play last Friday with just 12ha (30 acres) left to clear. It was still there on Tuesday.

Fengrains Chris Barnes estimates 80% of the oilseed rape in the March-based co-ops catchment area was cleared by early this week. "Yields are good, much better than last year. A lot is over 1.5t/acre."

Oils are about average at 43-45%. Further south Camgrains Philip Darke reports slightly lower oil contents but equally good yields, albeit with probably only 30% cleared to date.

"These yields are the best we have seen for quite a few years," he concludes. &#42

OILSEED RAPE

&#8226 Yields 20-25% above average.

&#8226 Oil contents about normal.

&#8226 Hybrids having a good year.

&#8226 Swathed crops cleared first.

&#8226 Yields 20-25% above average.

&#8226 Oil contents about normal.

&#8226 Hybrids having a good year.

&#8226 Swathed crops cleared first.

Oilseed rape yields have pleasantly surprised many growers this season. Here, Mark Dellor clears Shannon at Rectory Farm, Thriplow in Cambs. "It has done about 26cwt, despite pigeon damage and light ground. We cant expect much better than that."

A sign of things to come? Contractor Dave Russell bales oilseed rape straw near Downham Market destined for the Ely power station.