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  • Writer's picturePhilip

Hybrid or Conventional?

What is important when choosing a winter sown Oilseed Rape (OSR) variety?

If you are to believe the popular press it has to be Gross Output. This is also strongly highlighted in the AHDB recommended varieties booklet(1). Yield * Oil Bonus = More money.

Lets just consider this one point for a moment.

Treated yield. Currently for the UK an average of 4.8 t/ha (1). Put that in to context; for the 15/16 season(2) treated yields were averaging 5.0 t/ha. Therefore according to the AHDB average yields have fallen.

Oil content. Averages are 23/24, 45% 15/16, 44%. There we have it, the average increase in oil content of 1% is making up for the drop in yield of 0.2 t/ha!

With a few quick sums we see: Selling OSR at £325.00 /t means the lower yield is loosing us £65.00/ha but we are getting (3) an additional £23.38/ha for 1% extra oil.

Therefore in reality yield is still our primary objective and the oil; well that’s is a welcome bonus.

If we then go back to the AHDB list for 2023/24 (1) and average the treated yields for the UK we end up with a relative figure of 102. If we then look at the AHDB stated “error,” a value of "4," that means a yield of 106 to 98 by variety is “not significant.”

Which then means 13 of the 15 varieties listed are likely to yield the same on your farm.

That means that there is statistically unlikely to be any difference in yield whether you grow a hybrid or a conventional variety.

Therefore if profit is the reason for growing OSR on the farm then cost of production is of primary importance since you have no control over the genetic yield of the variety, its oil content or (directly) the market price you receive.

What you do have control over when choosing a variety is the cost of seed per ha along with all the attributes an individual variety brings to the 23/24 growing season.

Make an informed decision on variety choice this season, reduce your risk and increase the likelihood of Yield * Oil Bonus = More money.


1. AHDB Recommended list for cereals and oilseeds. 2023/24

2. AHDB Recommended list for cereals and oilseeds. 2015/16

3. Oil content bonuses are paid at 1.5% of the purchase price for each percent of oil content the crop produces above 40%


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