Oilseed rape still a good bet for autumn 2008

Oilseed rape will perform better in gross margin terms than pulses, despite rising fertiliser and fuel costs, Nick Myers told visitors to a ProCam open day last week.

“There’s lots of talk at the moment about growing beans,” he said. “But even if you manage to produce a sample of spring beans for human consumption, oilseed rape will still outperform them financially.”

Mr Myers illustrated his point by calculating a gross margin for winter beans of £467/ha, spring beans at £477/ha and oilseed rape at £823/ha.

“Admittedly, if you get an export sample from spring beans the gross margin rises to £662/ha. But it’s still not enough.”

Winter linseed was also looking more attractive than pulses, he added. “It’s priced at 15% over oilseed rape. So there’s a gross margin of £988/ha on paper from winter linseed.”

The breakeven ratio for the use of nitrogen fertiliser on oilseed rape was still below 3:1, so there was no justification for reducing nitrogen use on the rape crop, he added. “That’s not the same for wheat, where nitrogen should be reduced by 20-40kg/ha.”