Higher area, lower yield for 2018 OSR crop

The oilseed rape area looks set to rise by about 7% for the 2018 harvest but with yield expected to fall to about 3.5t/ha.

This means total output is likely to be slightly down on 2017, at 2.11m tonnes, according to farmer co-op United Oilseeds (UO).

UO puts the total crop area for 2018 at almost 604,000ha compared with 563,000ha in 2017 and dramatically down on the 758,000ha of just six years ago. 

See also: Virtual Farm model – better harvest 2017 results but 2018 budget shows profit dip

There are some significant regional variations in area, with a rise of more than 10% expected in Scotland, Yorkshire, the South East and South West.

More OSR will be grown in all areas apart from the North West and Wales, although both the East and West Midlands show increases of less than 1%.

Higher quality from the 2017 harvest resulted in bigger bonuses, while the co-op’s harvest pool has averaged £305/t and its long pool (October-December movement) £320/t.

Quality results for all UOM harvest 2016 OSR and for all UOM harvest 2017 OSR moved up to 1 November 2017


Average quality of all tonnage moved from  harvest 2016 (%)

Average quality of all tonnage moved up to 1 November 2017 (%)

Oil content









Source: United Oilseeds 

Keeping OSR for longer reaps price reward

Many growers traditionally move oilseed rape early in the season because of storage and other logistics issues but UO Carte Blanche pool, which allows UO to move the seed anytime between February and June, earned growers an average £33.39/t more (including bonuses) than selling seed at harvest over the past 12 years, said managing director Chris Baldwin.

Average quality premiums paid to United Oilseed members in its Carte Blanche pool – harvest 2016 OSR for movement February-June 2017


Analysis (%)

Bonus value (£/t)










Total bonus



Base pool price



Total pool price including bonuses



Source: United Oilseeds