Contradicting claims by farmers that a recent ban on the nerve-agent pesticides, neonicotinoids, would hurt production, Britain’s oilseed rape crop this season is on pace to be higher than normal.
Prior to the ban, neonicotinoids had been used on virtually the entire UK crop. However, since the two-year ban on the class of pesticides was enacted in 2013 to give scientists the needed time to conduct further research into their effect on bees and other pollinators, oilseed rape yields have exceeded the ten year average.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) protested the ban announcing in May, “Farmers across the country are continuing to suffer heavy losses through oilseed rape crop damage following restrictions to the availability of neonicotinoid.”
But the latest data from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) found that after 15% of the oilseed rape crop planted last summer has been harvested, yields are between 3.5 and 3.7 tons per hectare compared to a ten year average of 3.4 tons per hectare, suggesting that the NFU claims were significantly exaggerated.
Lynda Kiernan is Editor with HighQuest Group Media and of the Oilseed & Grain News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at firstname.lastname@example.org.