The area of High Oleic, Low Linolenic (HOLL) winter oilseed rape plantings in the UK for harvest 2016 is the highest on record, according to market research from the Kleffmann Group’s WOSR AMIS farmer input panel.
December 2015 survey results from the 400-strong panel, which is carefully selected to be representative of British growers, show that HOLL varieties account for 7% of the winter OSR area – up from just 2% in 2014/15, albeit of a larger crop.
The findings support United Oilseeds’ earlier estimates in November 2015 that HOLL varieties had been planted on 43,000ha that autumn, up from the 13,000ha for harvest 2015.The company also estimated that the overall UK oilseed area had fallen by 15% to 536,000ha, and that the area sown to High Erucic types for industrial use had dropped to 29,600ha from 38,000ha in 2015.
The increase in the HOLL area can be explained by the attractive contract premiums for the crop as conventional crop values slide, together with the fact that HOLL variety yields are now close to those for the mainstream double low types, says plant breeder DeKalb, the Monsanto brand behind the two varieties making up the lion’s share of current plantings – V316OL and V295OL. These delivered gross outputs of 4.76 tonnes/ha and 4.65 tonnes/ha respectively last harvest, it says. This is close to the market-leading DK Extrovert with an average 4.93 tonnes/ha and ahead of all but two of the other 13 most widely-grown varieties in 2014/15.
DeKalb adds that over 90% of all the 2015 crop samples that were pre-movement tested by its laboratory were within specification for both linolenic and oleic oil levels to qualify for flat rate HOLL premiums of up to £25/t on top of oil bonuses.
“Our HOLL hybrids are certainly living up to their promise of output parity with the best of ‘double low’ varieties,” comments DeKalb NW Europe marketing lead Deryn Gilbey. “Class-leading output is especially valuable in helping growers cope with current rapeseed markets. After all, at typical crop input levels every quarter of a tonne of extra output drives winter rape production costs down by around £10/t.
“HOLL rape is clearly delivering for growers in both maximising market returns and minimising unit production costs. This and the assurance of fixed premiums provided by contract-based production means it really isn’t surprising that this season’s plantings are so markedly up on 2015. Nor that grower interest for the coming season is so high.”