20 February 1998

Turnip rape case is looking strong

EARLINESS and pod-fastness, combined with lower input costs, put turnip rape on an economic par with higher yielding, but higher cost hybrids, according to SAC trials at Aberdeen.

"Although turnip rape yields are lower, reduced inputs mean growing costs can be 35% less," says Tim Kerridge of Dale Turriff.

In the SAC trials total variable costs for turnip rape variety Agena came to £120/ha (£49/acre), while the hybrid Hyola 38 cost £181/ha (£73/acre). The hybrid yielded almost 0.5t/ha (0.2t/acre) more than the turnip rape, but gross margins were comparable, at £700.62/ha (£283.54/acre) for the turnip variety, and £408.33/ha (£286.66/acre) for the hybrid.

Earlier maturing turnip rapes also help stagger combining and reduce pre-harvest weather hazards. No swathing or desiccation is needed.

The advantages of turnip rapes increase further north and in more extreme growing areas, SACs Kerr Walker adds.