High Erucic Acid Rape (HEAR) may sound like a niche market, but it is a secure one for growers, with the same crop management as double low (’00’) varieties, plus excellent total returns when the significant buyback contract premiums available are added in.

Chris Guest, Managing Director of LSPB (LS Plant Breeding Ltd), underlines the benefits of growing HEAR rape for the right grower given the demand from specialist markets and the same agronomy and growing costs as double lows.

“Resort is the only HEAR variety on the current AHDB 2022/23 winter oilseed rape list, as a ‘UK Described variety’, with a strong set of all-round agronomic characters – including good stem stiffness and resistance to lodging. The only practical difference on the farm comes at harvest time when the HEAR crop must be stored separately from other oilseed rape varieties to ensure the specification and quality is maintained.

“HEAR can therefore offer growers significant returns and there are buyback contracts available from a number of merchants offering premiums, an assured market, harvest movement and the usual cash flow benefits of oilseed rape.”

The double low (low erucic and low glucosinolate) varieties that now form the bulk of the UK’s oilseed rape crop were introduced in the 1970s to give an increased marketability when used for animal feed. At the same same, the demand for HEAR varieties grown in the UK for industrial uses has remained and stayed constant – indeed, for some uses it has increased.

When HEAR rape is processed at crushers, the oil extracted is used for a number of specialist purposes where its properties make it valuable. It has a range of applications in industry such as printing ink and high temperature lubricants.  It is also equally important in a range of food processing applications, such as a release agent in bakeries. 

Chris Guest adds, “growing high erucic can be a valuable option for oilseed rape growers, and Resort is a variety with robust agronomics plus a gross output that – taken with the significant premiums available – brings an excellent return.”

Chris Guest , LSPB Managing Director pictured in oilseed rape trials.