UK oilseed rape area set to fall 8.25% for 2017 harvest

United Oilseeds Marketing predicts an 8.25% fall in the UK oilseed rape area for harvest 2017, to 531,000ha.

Assuming a return to the five-year average yield of 3.5 t/ha, this would give a crop of 1.86m tonnes next year compared with 1.73m tonnes this year.

This could still mean a UK oilseed rape deficit.

See also: Price rises get virtual farm out of trouble in 2016

The crop still offered the highest gross margin of any combinable break, said managing director Chris Baldwin.

The group’s estimated winter oilseed rape gross margin for 2017 at almost £819/t is £92.40 higher than that suggested for first wheat.

These are calculated using an oilseed rape price of £357/t (before an expected 8% bonus) and a feed wheat price of £125/t.

Harvest 2017 prices are currently in the £305-£310/t ex-farm region.

This year’s lower oilseed rape yields produced a marketing shift in July, August and September when less tonnage moved than in the same period last year.

The lower rape yields alongside lower barley yields created room to store more oilseed rape on farm at a time when prices were lower too.

UK oilseed rape crop



2017 (UOM estimate of OSR area surviving)

% change

UK area estimate (ha)




UOM yield estimate (t/ha)




Total production estimate (m tonnes)




*Defra figure