Growers should check their oilseed rape contracts and speak with their local store to try to minimise possible deductions for crops exceeding temperature and moisture specifications and being infested with insects such as cabbage stem flea beetle.
NFU chief combinable crops advisor Jack Watts says there is a temperature limit in contracts and similar to last year, deductions are occurring for hot grain. He advises growers to be aware of their contract and the buyer’s terms and conditions.
“Do what you can to bring the crop in to spec whether that is blowing air through which can be difficult with the hot conditions. Talk to the store in question. Some may be more favourable than others.”
There have also been issues with cabbage stem flea beetle with claims from some stores for insect infestation – it does not matter what the insect is, says Mr Watts. “When OSR has been harvested, tip it in a barn before moving it to a central store or crusher – this will allow the flea beetle to migrate off the crop. There are challenges where crops are moving direct from fields to a crusher. There may be less of an issue where it is moving into store but this may vary on a store by store basis.
“It is difficult to give blanket advice as every store is different.”
OSR moisture content which is below specification is also proving to be a problem, however, recent rain may have helped, he says.
A Frontier spokesperson says it has made charges in some cases for oilseed rape cooling this season, adding that this is not unique to Frontier.
Owen Cligg, trading manager at independent farmers’ co-operative United Oilseeds, says: “Some stores will make a charge for cooling oilseed rape which is above 25degC - the maximum crop temperature stated in the contract between United Oilseeds and the farmer. This reflects the significant cost of cooling crops that have a particularly high temperature.
“In reality very few crops are actually delivered into store above 25 degrees and, for growers that do not have their own cooling facilities on farm, our advice is to harvest rapeseed away from the heat of the day when ambient temperatures are lower.”
While he would not comment on specific charges in relation to Openfield, the company’s marketing and communications manager Richard Kaye says: “Whatever anyone says about not charging they will be doing it somewhere. Our number one priority is to maximise the value of the grain so farmers’ contracts can be maximised.”
Mr Kaye says contracts would normally state grain should be under 25degC. “But some adjustments had been made recently to try to accommodate for the fact that grain is coming off harvest fields much hotter than that.
“Anyone who has concerns should pick up the phone and talk to us.”