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England rapeseed area could be lowest since 2009

LONDON - England could be set for its lowest rapeseed area since 2009 with forward prices too low to justify the increasing risks of growing the crop, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said on Monday. The AHDB, issuing res...

 

LONDON - England could be set for its lowest rapeseed area since 2009 with forward prices too low to justify the increasing risks of growing the crop, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said on Monday.

The AHDB, issuing results of its winter planting survey, put England's rapeseed area, as of Dec. 1 last year, at 548,000 hectares, down 10 percent from the 611,000 harvested last year of which 605,000 was winter sown.

"Market conditions continue to challenge the economics of the whole rotation, but especially oilseed rape which shows the largest declines year on year," AHDB senior analyst Helen Plant said in a news release.

"While still an important break crop, the fall in area shows the increasing risks of growing oilseed rape are outweighing the potential benefits," she added.

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Analysts have said the shift away from rapeseed has been driven partly by problems with cabbage stem flea beetles linked to curbs on the use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. The EU restricted their use to protect bees.

"Unless spring plantings (of rapeseed) are higher than in the last two years, this sets England up for the lowest oilseed rape area since 2009," AHDB said.

The survey put wheat area, in England and Wales, at 1.66 million hectares, marginally lower than the 1.69 million reported in last year's winter planting survey.

"Without higher levels of late winter and spring plantings year on year, the 2016 England and Wales total wheat area is likely to be similar to that harvested in 2015. The crop remains the mainstay of many rotations," AHDB said.

Related Topics: CROPS
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