19 July 2002

OSR races ahead

By Chris Horn FW harvest correspondent

OILSEED rape harvesting got off to a generally promising start earlier this week, however some growers say the dull June and early July has damaged yields.

Allied Grain trader Tim Desborough has had mixed reports from growers. One, in Cambs, reported a dismal start with yields about 2.1t/ha (17cwt/acre) while another had a High Errucic crop coming in at 4.3t/ha (35cwt/acre).

In Essex, Tim Cooper says yields are pretty good at Golden Berry Farm near Wix. Borneo on fine sandy soil did a pleasing 4.3t/ha (35cwt/acre). A few fields suffered in wet conditions but overall it was a good crop to grow.

"We didnt apply any control for sclerotinia or aphids and there were very few problems with pigeon damage."

At Haconby Hall, near Bourne in south Lincs, Ben Atkinson has cut 110ha (300acres) of Recital and Escort so far, yielding about 4t/ha (32cwt/acre) off mainly heavy fen land.

"Thats just above our long-term average." With 364ha (900 acres) still to cut, including some later maturing varieties, it is too soon to pick out varietal differences, he adds.

Clive Apps combine finally made it into his crop of Fortress on Monday at Romney in Kent. "The crop has looked well all year but as usual with the British climate when you need the sun, we only ever had rain."

Only 12ha (30acres) has been cleared off his grade 3 "upland" ground but yields running at upto 3.7t/ha (30cwt/acre) and a 9% moisture content are pleasing, he says. "Things look promising this year but nothing could be worse than the freak wet weather we had last year."

At Harps Farm in Essex, manager Charles Carter had also just made a start earlier this week, with 12ha (30acres) of swathed crop doing 2.4t/ha (20cwt/acre) off very light ground. While that is an improvement on last year, he hopes there is better to come.

"The crop looked pretty good a while back, but in light of recent weather the weight is just not there. It is still early and we are expecting more from the fields to come." &#42

&#8226 Variable yields.

&#8226 Lack of sun blamed for disappointments.

&#8226 Dry seed so far.