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Careful OSR Seed Selection can Boost Oil Bonuses

Date Added: 11/04/2008

Oilseed rape growers who choose to select a seed variety with a high oil content can boost their farm's profitability by taking advantage of inflated oil bonus payments.

That is the advice from United Oilseeds' Managing Director, Chris Baldwin, who believes that the future for one of the UK's most strikingly visible crops is set to increase in popularity with farmers and end-users alike.

For many years, traditional arable farmers have viewed the bright yellow flowers of oilseed rape as a break-crop with little commercial value. As such, they have historically chosen to sow oilseed varieties that are easy and reliable to grow, but which may not return the best finished crop prices. However, with commodity prices rising rapidly over recent years, oilseed rape is now being viewed as a real alternative to other commercial cereal crops.

"Selecting the correct seed variety is vital for farmers who want to boost their farm's profitability" explains Mr Baldwin. "Many of the factors that determine whether or not a crop makes any money, such as the weather, pest infestations or disease, are largely out of the control of farmers. But there is one thing that rapeseed growers can do to minimise the impact of a poor growing season. To maximise returns, farmers must consider very carefully which variety they intend to grow next season."

Mr Baldwin continues, "Oilseed rape remains one of the UK's most volatile commodities, with prices regularly fluctuating upwards and downwards. Whilst the general trend over recent harvests has been for the market to rise significantly, so too have farm overheads. The effect that this level of volatility has on farm income can lead to periods of either boom or bust.

"Therefore, to maximise returns from their rapeseed, farmers should select a seed variety that offers a high oil content as well as a high seed yield. Buoyant market conditions have dramatically increased the value of rapeseed and those varieties with a high oil content will generate significant oil bonus payments and can help to provide an additional boost to cash-flow and profitability.

"The difference between the value of a lorry load of rapeseed with an oil content of 42% compared to a lorry load at 45% could be in the region of about £300-£400 per load.* In fact, compared to other varieties such as ES Astrid and Castille, varieties like Komando, which has an average oil content of 45.4%, can add an additional £384 or more in oil bonus payments alone, to each lorry load of rapeseed that leaves the farm. Varieties like Komando, which have a high crop value and are suitable for growing throughout the UK, are therefore ideal for those farmers who want to improve their margin over seed costs," Mr Baldwin concludes.

United Oilseeds also advises farmers that they should act quickly if they want to ensure a supply of their first choice of seed, as stocks of the more popular varieties are likely to sell out quickly as more growers begin to appreciate the potential profits that oilseed rape can bring.

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