19 August 1997

Winter oilseed rape area increases 3%

THE coming seasons winter oilseed rape area of 355,000ha (877,000 acres) will be up nearly 3% on last years, says Dalgety.

"Winter rape is one of the few crops that can be said to be a fairly universal success this year," says the firms Julie Goult. Yield has been good and crop value has held up reasonably well. "It is not unsurprising that we are predicting a small increase in the area."

The weaker malting barley market is a particular driver in Scotland, says Miss Goult.

Apex, which had 60% of the market last year, still accounts for 44%. But good new varieties, notably fully restored hybrids, are eating into its lead.

Hybrids sell well

In their first year Pronto and Artus have virtually sold out and occupy about 13% of the market, she says. Variety association Synergy has increased its share to 10%, becoming very popular north of the border, where Commanche has taken over from Falcon in second place.

"Other varieties to make an impact are the new introductions Lipton, Herald and Contact. The latter looks a serious contender to Apex in 1998. Agronomically it appears to be every bit as good, but with more yield and vigorous growth."