Harvest highlights: Oilseed rape yields disappoint

As oilseed rape harvest nears an end, farmers across the country are generally disappointed with yields. Reports today have shown the dry weather also caused concern for moisture levels, which have been low in rape crops.

David Wakefield from Cambridgeshire said 300ha of oilseed rape had not done as well as expected, with yields averaging 3.65t/ha for Lioness and Castille, and Fortis slightly lower.

“We were disappointed at first but yields don’t look quite as bad when you see what others have done this year.”

Norfolk farmer Nick Pratt was disappointed with 120ha of Winner, which yielded 3.1t/ha. He said the quality was good but moisture was low at 5.5 – 8.7%. “It has been a particularly bad year for oilseed rape.”

Bruce Udale in Shropshire said farmers were generally not geared up for tackling the low moisture problems, with many neighbours reporting 5 – 6% moisture. Yields were about average at 3.25t/ha. “It’s a really unusual situation for farmers to be in.”

Scottish Border farmer John Jeffrey was also disappointed with oilseed rape, with yields of 3.37t/ha. “The rape is very dry. It is the earliest we’ve ever combined it.”

Richard Kendall in Bedfordshire, who said his rape was too dry, shared the same moisture concerns. “We’re going to try and get the moisture over 6% – some of it is below – as I don’t want any rejections or to lose premiums.” Yields were averaging 2.7t/ha, with Astrid yielding slightly more.