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Stackyard News Aug 08

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    HO,LL Winter Oilseed Rape Harvest Impresses

High Oleic, Low Linolenic (HO,LL) winter oilseed rape is performing particularly well for growers across the country this season, delivering good yields of oil well within specification for very attractive returns.


oilseed rape

Crops of original variety, Splendor are yielding as well as conventional double lows grown nearby in most cases and even better in some, suggesting little, if any, practical yield penalty. At the same time, the vast majority are comfortably meeting the critical linolenic acid level to qualify for 2008 Vistive premiums of £44/tonne over standard double low plus oil bonus prices.

Initial results from 218 crops monitored through the Vistive fast gas chromatography laboratory at Cambridge show the vast majority – 89% – with linolenic acid contents well within the maximum acceptable to the crushers, putting crop quality on a par with last season’s excellent achievement.

“Like last year, we have identified a few crops with specific quality issues likely to limit their premium-earning ability,” explains David Leaper of Dekalb. “But these are very much in the minority and almost all resulted from particular weed or volunteer contamination recognised well ahead of harvest. So growers have had few surprises. And yields on a par with double lows mean reasonable earnings even for crops that won’t make the HO,LL crush.”

Vistive crop monitoring alongside the quality sampling shows most Splendor crops yielding between 2.5t/ha and 3.5 t/ha with an average of just over 3.0 t/ha.

Grainfarmers farm business manager, Chris Stevenson who has been involved with commercial HO,LL growing for all three seasons so far confirms yet another year of solid Splendor performance, with a combination of good yields and oil quality.

Ranging from 2.7 t/ha to 3.5 t/ha, he has seen yields average around 3.1 t/ha this harvest. At just 3 t/ha, some of his crops might appear fairly ordinary at first sight. Until you appreciate that many double lows in their immediate area have delivered little more than 2.5 t/ha.

“Most of my growers have been very pleased with their HO,LL crop,” he reports. “In one case it was the highest yielding rape on the farm. Quality testing has revealed a very low level of oil problems too.

“So it’s not surprising almost everyone who has grown HO,LL this year is drilling the speciality rape again this autumn, with many increasing the area they are growing by 20-25%. This, and a number of new growers attracted by fixed premiums of up to £60/t for 2009, means we’re confident the acreage will increase markedly. All the more so given the growing attractiveness of these premiums as ordinary OSR values fall back.”

Nick Oakhill at Glencore has also been very encouraged by this year’s HO,LL crop. He stresses that the majority of growers contracting their Vistive through the Masstock/Glencore partnership seen them perform ‘very well’ relative to standard double lows.

“More growers have elected to stick with Splendor than we initially envisaged with the arrival of the higher output alternative V141OL,” he notes. “This underlines the extent to which they are finding the variety delivers the combination of yield and quality they require to take full advantage of the crop’s premium earning ability.

“The additional flexibility the newer variety provides for delayed drilling is, of course, being particularly appreciated by those facing serious harvest delays,” he adds. “Even so, warm and moist soils are likely to ensure better than average establishment of even relatively slow-starting Splendor this autumn.”

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