New analysis of the predicted gross margins for winter break crops shows oilseed rape remains the most profitable.

United Oilseeds says despite challenging establishment in the 2018-19 season the business case for planting oilseed rape remains undeniably strong.

The farmer-owned cooperative has today published fresh data comparing returns from the UK’s most popular break crops and is urging growers to take a well-rounded view when planning next season’s cropping.

Chris Baldwin, managing director of United Oilseeds, said the data should cement oilseed rape’s position in the rotation.

“Our estimated gross margins for 2019 harvest* are £714/ha for conventional oilseed rape while HOLL (High Oleic, Low Linolenic) varieties are significantly more at £774/ha,” he said.

“Comparing that with other popular break crops, our modelling predicts winter linseed will return £421/ha and winter beans £460/ha.

“Oilseed rape returns also stack up well against winter feed barley at £609/ha and even a crop of second feed wheat at £643/ha.”

On 24 May oilseed rape was trading at over £300/tonne before quality and premium bonuses.

HOLL varieties offer growers new market opportunities plus a minimum guaranteed premium of £25/tonne from United Oilseeds before bonuses for oil, moisture and admixture.

Chris added: “Demand for HOLL is strong both domestically and through the export market.

“It’s expected that in the next five years there will be a significant rise in area of HOLL varieties planted from the current 14,000ha to 75,000ha, as more food businesses demand ‘healthier’ oil.

“British HOLL oilseed rape is high quality, sustainable and extremely profitable. Our members are well placed to serve this increase in demand.”

Reacting to the establishment challenges experienced by some of its members, United Oilseeds has announced it will provide free replacement seed for HOLL crops planted this autumn which fail to establish, subject to conditions.

Chris said: “There are plenty of reasons to be positive about the market opportunities for the coming season and the longer-term future.

“HOLL in particular, offers premiums that are very hard to match with other break crops, while new conventional and hybrid varieties available for the coming season offer improved traits and yield potential.”

Gross margins