Survey of current agronomic practices influencing free fatty acid content in oilseed rape during the 2012-2012 season
Conclusions and recommendations
- Although weather was a major factor in the increase of FFA in 2012, there are practical steps growers can take to minimise the risk.
- Attention to detail should be paid, and oilseed rape should be handled after harvest in a similar way to malting barley or any seed crop
- Timeliness of harvest - this research has indicated that the time the oilseed rape crop is harvested can impact FFA content. Attention to detail regarding the interval between desiccation and harvest is required.
- If the crop is harvested too early, it is at risk of immature seeds~
- If the crop is harvested too late, it is at risk of pre-germination
(Immature and pre-germinated seeds have been identified in the scientific literature as contributing to increased FFA content (Uppström et al., 1995))
- Drying temperature
- Care should be taken in selecting the temperature of the dryer
- FFA content increases with an increase in dryer temperature
- Ventilation of the rapeseed has a significant impact on FFA content
- Rapeseed which was not ventilated recorded a higher FFA content
- It is important that the crop is ventilated prior to drying, as any build-up of heat in the crop may significantly increase the risk of FFAs.
- Varietal differences within the 2011/12 season have not been significant but ultimately more research is needed.
- HGCA and the industry agree that it is important to invest further in FFA research
- Potential varietal differences could be tested by analysis of Recommended Lists material at harvest.
It is proposed the survey is continued for a further two years to confirm findings. The survey must be extended to the whole of the UK and, where possible, include samples where FFA hotspots have been identified.
About this project
- High levels of free fatty acids (FFAs) in rapeseed oil were a problem in 2012, particularly in Scotland. HGCA and oilseed merchants and processors have worked in partnership to conduct a grower survey and review crop quality.
- High levels of FFAs make oil unsuitable for human consumption and can also cause foaming in biofuels. Removing FFAs is a significant cost for processors and this is reflected in a lower price for growers.
- This research looks at how region, variety, cultivation method, harvest method, drying method and storage method affected free fatty acid levels in oilseed rape during harvest 2012.
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