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Harvest better than expected
THIS year’s harvest has turned out to be better than expected, thanks to the dry weather in August and early September.
In fact, it has been suggested that this could lead to this autumn’s oil seed rape drilling area close to that of last season, when many had expected a fall after a tough growing season and a decline in rape seed prices, but good weather saw many complete drilling during August.
Traders report seed sales are down this season, but with many crops in the ground well-established, there are likely to be fewer ripped up this winter.
Harvest forecasts have edged up to about 2m tonnes, with yields better than first thought, and this, along with dry drilling weather, has encouraged growers to stick with the crop.
HGCA analyst Jack Watts said: “The area might be stable to down a bit, but we are not expecting any new records and no mass exits.”
The HGCA estimates this year’s harvested crop fell nine per cent, to 686,000ha from 2012’s 756,000ha, but traders believe it could be as low at 650,000ha.
Two months ago, harvest estimates were about 1.8m tonnes, but many now look toward a national crop of about 2m tonnes.
United Oilseeds trading manager Owen Cligg said: “We are seeing a harvest of 2.1m tonnes, with yields down between seven and ten per cent.
“We are predicting a crop area for harvest 2014 of 600,000-650,000ha.”
Jonathan Lane, trading manager at Gleadell, sees a crop of a 1.9-2m tonnes, with yields better than forecast back in the spring.
With many new crops emerging early, agronomists say growers should be looking at plant growth regulators (PGR) and disease control of phoma and light leaf spot.
“With some crops well ahead at the four-leaf stage, growers should be considering using a PGR,” said Christine Lilly, technical support manager at adviser Frontier.
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