HGCA says 3.5% of English oilseed rape lost to flea beetle

Flea beetle damage to oilseed rape was worse than first thought with 3.5% of the crop in England lost last autumn rather than 2.7% from earlier data.

About 5% of the oilseed rape crop originally planted was lost to flea beetle damage last autumn, with 1.5% redrilled, leaving 22,000ha ripped up in England, equating to some 3.5%.

This was according to a survey of 1,300 growers based on the crop planted area on 1 December 2014.

Earlier estimates based on crop losses at end-September pointed towards English crop losses estimated at 2.7%, or some 18,000ha.

See also: Backward oilseed rape crops suffer flea beetle larvae attacks

The HGCA estimates plantings at 633,00ha in England and Wales at 1 December, which is just 1% down from the area of oilseed rape harvested in 2014.

The survey says England and Wales plantings would have been 5% higher if neonicotinoid treatment had been available, equivalent to an extra 38,000ha drilled.