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East Anglia: Oilseed rape crops best in the east

PUBLISHED: 06:00 10 July 2013

Ron Stobart, left, head of agronomy for NIAB TAG, and David Jones, Morley Farms farm manager, checking the oil seed rape plant, roots and soil. Picture: Denise Bradley

Ron Stobart, left, head of agronomy for NIAB TAG, and David Jones, Morley Farms farm manager, checking the oil seed rape plant, roots and soil. Picture: Denise Bradley

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Oilseed crops in the eastern region have fared the best in the county, according to a national survey.

Ron Stobart, left, head of agronomy for NIAB TAG, and David Jones, Morley Farms farm manager, checking the oil seed rape plant, roots and soil. Picture: Denise BradleyRon Stobart, left, head of agronomy for NIAB TAG, and David Jones, Morley Farms farm manager, checking the oil seed rape plant, roots and soil. Picture: Denise Bradley

An estimated 22% of the national winter oilseed rape area of 155,000 hectares or 383,000 acres has been ploughed up. It leaves just 545,000ha to harvest.

The Kleffmann Group, which is a leading agricultural market researcher operating in 22 countries, conducts more than half a million farm interviews each year.

“The extreme weather conditions this year with record rain and cold had a severe impact on winter rape crops, with crops suffering from slugs, flooding and all manner of difficulties. Consequently many farmers decided to plough them up and plant spring crops or leave the fields fallow,” said Roger Pratchett, who led the research project.

There was a big variation between the regions. In the east Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, 27% of the crop was ripped up, while in the south east, itr was 26% and north east 27%. In the west Midlands and south west, it was almost a quarter.

Ron Stobart, head of agronomy for NIAB TAG,  checking the oil seed rape Plant roots and soil. Picture: Denise BradleyRon Stobart, head of agronomy for NIAB TAG, checking the oil seed rape Plant roots and soil. Picture: Denise Bradley

In the region, it was just 12% and in Scotland 17%.

The Kleffmann Group survey asked farmers what they would be doing with the land where failed crops had been ploughed up and a significant number of farmers were leaving the land fallow with another sizable group deciding to grow spring barley. Spring oilseed rape, linseed, pulses and potatoes also featured.”

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