As many of you will already know, at the start of the year the NFU crops team submitted a policy proposal to Defra about oilseed rape (OSR).
We are calling for the government to essentially underwrite the risk to growers of planting and establishing oilseed rape, as a short term measure to help stem the decline in plantings while research is being conducted to find a long term, sustainable solution since the ban of neonicotinoids.
The pressure on the break crop has increased substantially following the boom in cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) populations and the spread across the country.
Since we submitted the proposal, there have been some changes within Defra and we now have a new arable lead. Over the past few weeks we have been working with the team on the OSR situation and the risks around growing it.
We have provided a huge amount of evidence and information to help Defra grasp the severity of the situation.
The crops team provided video evidence to Defra explaining the risks of growing OSR due to cabbage stem flea beetle.
NFU President Minette Batters has also sent the Farming Minister Victoria Prentis a letter outlining the need for short-term support to bridge the gap until we find a longer-term solution and an effective method of controlling CSFB.
We are continuing to work with Defra, but are acutely aware that time is ticking on throughout the season and that soon members will be looking at autumn drilling and next year’s rotations. We want to have something in place to aid planning and give growers the confidence to grow OSR.
We are working with other industry bodies on UK crop surveys to ensure the seriousness of the problem is properly represented.
There is also a substantial amount of promising research being undertaken at different institutes throughout the UK, but for this to continue the OSR industry needs investment – investment which will not come without a crop.
We all know OSR is a vital crop within the rotation and we hope to have a short term solution to support members to grow it. We are pushing harder than ever to get some imminent action from government to support farmers through this OSR crisis, starting with a response to our policy proposal. So, watch this space.
Crops board chairman Matt Culley sends his asks to Defra as part of the NFU's evidence and information package.
We are encouraging the general public to pull together and support British OSR farmers by promoting 100% British oil:
“Next time you’re buying your oil, make sure it contains 100% British oilseed rape” ?? NFU Chief Crops Advisor @HarrietteR_1 shows why we should all look out for the ???? flag when buying our rapeseed oil. Read more ?? https://t.co/rhXbToMTwv #BackBritishFarming pic.twitter.com/PvBZ4EvTFm— National Farmers' Union (@NFUtweets) May 3, 2020
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