Hail decimates rapeseed at Rippingdale

Torrential hailstorms have decimated oilseed rape crops at Ben Atkinson’s Grange Farm, Rippingdale, Lincolnshire, as well as on neighbouring farms.

“Our rain gauges hold 2.5” of rain and they were overflowing in 10 minutes on Thursday (22 July).

“My father has farmed here for 50 years and he’s never seen a storm like it, or damage like it.”

Yield loss ranged from 0.5t/ha (2.5t/acre) to 4t/ha (1.6t/acre) in oilseed rape crops which would otherwise have yielded up to 5t/ha (2t/acre), he said.

“I’ve got 200ha (500 acres) which has been hit to varying degrees. We’re avoiding the area and trying to get the better crops in first, but it’s also damaged beans to minor degree and has lacerated the leaves on the sugar beet.”

So far, Mr Atkinson had cut 485ha (1200 acres) of oilseed rape, and was very pleased with yields of over 5t/ha (2t/acre) in Cabernet and just under that level for Excalibur.

“Hopefully that will make up for some of the loss, and better prices will compensate a bit as well. But I think everyone in this area will insure against hail for the rest of time.”

Mr Atkinson still had 364ha (900 acres) of oilseed rape to cut before moving into winter wheat.

Crop: Oilseed rape
Variety: Excalibur
Area: 242ha (600 acres)
Yield: <5t/ha (2t/acre)

Variety: Cabernet
Area: 242ha (600 acres)
Yield: >5t/ha (2t/acre)

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