25 July 2001
Industrial OSR contract relaxed
By Tom Allen-Stevens
RELAXED contract conditions for industrial oilseed rape grown on set-aside were confirmed on Wednesday (25 July) by the National Farmers Union.
For this year only, the minimum required yield threshold of these crops will be reduced to 30% of the average yield for winter rape and 40% for spring crops.
Under contracts with processors, growers are usually required to produce at least 70% of the yield of that region in a normal year.
If growers do not hit these targets, based on ADAS figures for the last five years, they can lose their entitlement to claim set-aside subsidy payments.
The changes, agreed by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, reflect the difficult conditions experienced during establishment last autumn and early this year.
The worry is that many growers yields will fall short due to flooding and water-logging affecting crops, resulting in penalties.
NFU oil, protein and fibres committee Chairman Rad Thomas said: “This would come about through no fault of the growers themselves.
“This change in the contract gives them a much better chance and so will protect both their set aside payments and their cash position.”
Only non-food crops, such as oilseed rape used to produce industrial lubricants, can be grown on set aside land.
If yield falls short, growers must make up tonnage with oilseed rape grown for food.