Hybrid oilseed rape dominates across Europe

Tue 19 Aug 2014

A recent survey of arable farmers, conducted by the Kleffmann Group, reports that 72% of farmers in the UK, nearly 3 in every four, intend to grow hybrid oilseed rape varieties in the future on their farm, whilst 16% said that they had no intention of doing so and 12% did not know. The survey interviewed 400 British farmers, all of whom grow rape.

The survey initially asked if farmers were growing hybrids this year and 65% of farms (259) had at least one hybrid variety being grown this year. Roger Pratchett of IBR-Ltd, the UK agent for Kleffmann, says that hybrid rape varieties are generally finding favour because of their perceived better establishment and consequent overwintering capacity.

However 35% (141 farms) in the UK were not growing a hybrid this year. Over 59% of farms had never g grown a hybrid, whilst 36% of farms had done so but in the past.

“We wanted to know why growers had decided not to grow hybrids this year on their farm and the main reason given was because of bad performance in the past, with 20% of farmers citing this. A further 12% said that they were happy with their current varieties and a further 12% did not like using lower seed rates recommended when growing hybrids. One third of farmers (33%) however could give no particular reason for not growing hybrids,” reports Roger.

Of the 21% of farms which had never grown a hybrid rape, when asked why not, 28% of farmers said that they were satisfied with the varieties being currently grown, 13% said that hybrids had not been recommended to them, 12% were not convinced by hybrids and 22% mentioned that they were unable to save seed (11%) or that the seed was too expensive (11%).

The market share of oilseed rape hybrids across Europe indicates that 85% of the drilled area of oilseed rape in Germany was down to hybrids this year, with 80% in France, 67% in Ukraine, 46% in Poland. In the UK this year it is estimated that 54% of the total oilseed rape area was hybrid varieties.

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