Oilseed rape area down but not as sharp as first thought

The area down to oilseed rape has fallen this season although a forecast 10% reduction from a recent survey is not as sharp as an earlier estimate suggested.

Kleffmann, the agricultural market researcher, estimates the drilled area is down a tenth at 583,000ha, while the AHDB’s Early Bird survey put the area off 14% at 565,000ha.

The crop area destined for harvest this summer is showing the fourth successive fall in the area from a record 715,000ha at harvest 2012, and the smallest crop for seven years since 542,000ha at harvest 2009.

See also: Oilseed rape area falls with spring crops to take up the slack

The Kleffmann data come from its own survey of growers of what they had actually planted last summer and uses Defra figures to add a historic dimension.

Deryn Gilbey, Monsanto’s marketing lead for north-west Europe, tells Farmers Weekly that although oilseed rape is a key break crop, low rapeseed prices, rising growing costs and increased pest problems, like cabbage stem flea beetles, has put pressure on the area.

Monsanto, which markets varieties such as Extrovert and Exalte, is the leading supplier of seed in the UK for oilseed rape growers.

The Early Bird survey putting the crop area down 14% was published in mid-November 2015.

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