Oilseed rape decisions ‘will have a knock-on effect’

deadCL''Jonathan Scott who was killed in a triple fatal rtc.'Pictured with him in his girlfriend Chloe Newby, who is fighting for life
deadCL''Jonathan Scott who was killed in a triple fatal rtc.'Pictured with him in his girlfriend Chloe Newby, who is fighting for life

Oilseed rape growers who wish to farm save seed should plan their variety decisions carefully for next year following changes to rapeseed delivery specifications and information added to HGCA’s new recommended lists, it has been warned.

Arable adviser Guy Gagen said that farmers should now look at the connection between the HGCA Recommended List (RL) for oilseed rape and oilseed crushers’ new requirements on acceptability of varieties.

“Processors of oilseed rape across Europe have developed a strategy to improve the quality rape meal used by feed compounders. The aim is to consistently reduce average levels of glucosinolates, a limiting factor for inclusion in animal feed. With this improvement, the way is paved for the supply chain to generate more value for UK grown rapeseed crops”, Mr Gagen said.

Seeking a straightforward solution for farmers, crushers have agreed that provided a variety was first listed with national or EU authorities at below the 18 micromoles glucosinolates, variety can serve as an indicator that the crop is compliant. To this end, variety declaration is to be required from harvest 2013 for deliveries to all major EU oilseed crushers.

Establishing which varieties are suitable will be made easier now HGCA has published data from official National List trials. This now includes winter varieties on the RL and descriptive list for spring varieties that were below 18 micromoles of glucosinolates when registered with the authorities. NFU and crushers had requested this information be made available to help farmers to meet new conditions on declaring variety on delivery.

HGCA has provided some good information, but this is not being released on all varieties by breeders and growers are advised to be cautious over the ‘fast-tracked’ or outclassed varieties on the market.

Mr Gagen added: “Information on the performance of varieties tested in the HGCA RL trials in 2010 has been published for varieties listed there, and farmers’ decision making for autumn 2011 will be largely based on the results of this work. One critical element that has changed is the view from the market on acceptability of varieties that can be delivered in future.

“Oilseed crushers’ will ask that the variety or mix of varieties is declared on grain passports and that seed was saved only once. Farmers who wish to keep their options open for farm saved seed from the following crop need to be aware that only certain varieties will be suitable for farm saving next year, or delivery to crushers from 2013. If offered seed not on the new RL and where no official data on glucosinolates is provided, farmers should check with their merchant and get written confirmation from the breeder that crushers will accept the variety. The NFU will continue to push breeders to release glucosinolates data on all varieties.”