2 March 2001

Will spring crop cut mustard?

FARMERS seeking a spring crop which yields as well as oilseed rape when sown up to the end of May, costs slightly less to grow and comes to harvest in about 100 days are being urged to try Abyssinian mustard, also known as Crambe.

"Its in late and out early," says Clifford Spencer of Springdale Crop Synergies, which is offering buy-back contracts at £140/t on a restricted area with seed at £47/ha (£19/acre).

The oil is used as an additive in the plastics industry. "We have a very positive end-user. Over 100,000 acres are grown in the US, but it is more suited to our climate." The crop, which qualifies for set-aside payment, could be particularly helpful in the north where bad weather threatens to disrupt rotations, he believes. &#42