The popularity of oilseed rape has increased over the past few years due to the dramatic increase in price and also because growers are looking for alternative crops to cereals. There are two sowing times for rape in Ireland; Winter oilseed rape and Spring oilseed rape. The overall acreage of winter oilseed is around 8,000 hectares and increasing and spring oilseed rape acreage is around 4,000 hectares. Yield of winter and spring oilseed rape are very different. Average yields of winter oilseed rape in Ireland are 4.2 tonnes per hectare, with highs of 5.0 tonnes per hectare achieved in 2011. Spring oilseed rape average yields are 2.2 tonnes per hectare with highs of 3.3 tonnes per hectare harvested in 2010.
Oilseed rape acts as a break crop from the Take-all fungus which adversely affects wheat. Yield of wheat sown after sowing rape can increase by 0.5-1.5 t/ha depending on the incidence of take all during the growing season.
Oilseed Rape Key Statistics
Data from Teagasc Harvest Reports 2008-2012