Growers compensated for oilseed rape crop failures

Oilseed rape growers who suffered crop failure in 2009 after sowing the variety Ritz, have been compensated by Frontier Agriculture, one of the companies which supplied the seed.

The variety accounted for about a quarter of the spring sown crop in 2009.

By May of that year agronomists and farmers were reporting that some fields of Ritz had almost no germination at all.

Frontier Agriculture’s arable inputs director Charlie Whitmarsh said: “Frontier was one of a number of merchants that sold Ritz. We were subsequently contacted by some customers regarding failure of that crop.

“We felt a responsibility to act. Our farmer customers are at the heart of our business and this was a huge concern for those who experienced crop failure after drilling Ritz.

“We have actively sought to address this matter on behalf of our growers.

“I am pleased to say that all those who contacted Frontier have now had this matter resolved to their satisfaction,” Mr Whitmarsh said.

NFU combinable crops board chairman Ian Backhouse applauded Frontier’s action and explained how the union had played a central role in negotiating settlements.

“The NFU’s Legal Assistance Scheme provided substantial financial support for these cases.

“Settlements were achieved through negotiation and consultation with the NFU’s legal panel firms, Clarke Willmott and Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors, on behalf of their growers without the need for protracted and costly legal cases.

“This included the cost of an independent agronomist’s report for members involved to support their individual claim after they were left with almost complete crop failure,” Mr Backhouse said.

Some growers affected by the problem who purchased seed from other merchants are still negotiating the issue.

“We hope others will also follow Frontier’s lead and reach settlement for those growers still bearing the brunt of this costly crop failure,” said Mr Backhouse.

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