“With the oilseed rape crop set to rebound this year, oilseed rape growers should also consider the premiums available in specialist oilseed markets such as HEAR (high erucic acid rape) where geographic location and contracts available allow,” says Chris Guest, Managing Director of LSPB (LS Plant Breeding Ltd). “HEAR oilseed rape is used in a variety of applications, from industrial lubricants to food processing, and can offer an attractive gross margin opportunity.”
When oilseed rape started to be grown widely in the UK in the 1970s, breeders worked hard to remove erucic acid and glucosinolates from varieties to give the ‘double low’ varieties that are the mainstay of the UK oilseed rape crop today. But there has always been a demand for specialist varieties with high erucic acid content.
The main uses are for plastics, lacquers, detergents and certain high temperature industrial lubricants where it increases the viscosity of the oil. Legend has it that HEAR-based lubricating oil was used in the engines of Concorde, and it is certainly used in aircraft and locomotive engines today.
HEAR oil also has an important value in non-industrial applications where is it used in cosmetics, slip agents for food packaging and in consumable spreads.
LSPB’s Resort is the only HEAR variety on the described section of the AHDB Recommended List for 2021/22. It is a restored hybrid with a good agronomic package including lodging (8), stem stiffness (8) and oil content (45.7%).
Growing costs are the same as other oilseed rape varieties, so Resort does not need different crop management techniques or increased input costs.
Importantly, when looking at HEAR crops, growers need to go beyond the yield to look at gross output based in Resort’s high oil content – and then add in the HEAR premium to get a comparable total return to other varieties. Figures quoted suggest grower total margin can be substantially over that of non-HEAR crops.
There are a number of merchants offering contracts for Resort HEAR crops and they can detail the financial and marketing benefits of their particular contract to potential growers.
“With Resort you have the only AHDB-listed HEAR variety bringing a premium to growers with wide marketability – plus robust agronomics and field performance,” adds Chris in summary.