How to influence oilseed rape quality

Achieving the required quality targets for oilseed rape can greatly affect the value of the harvested crop, depending on the intended market The main quality targets to consider are glucosinolate levels and percent oil content. Crop nutrition influences both of these traits so it is important the crop receives the correct balanced nutrition.

Balanced crop nutrition is important

Oilseed rape quality targets will depend on the end user’s required specification . The main traits to consider are glucosinolate levels and percent oil content. Crop nutrition will have influences on both of these traits and to achieve the required specification it is important the crop receives the correct balanced nutrition. The use of the oil depends on the contents of these two factors, in addition to erucic acid which no longer is present in the plant material.

Oilseed rape has the following uses:

  • Oil for human consumption
  • Renewable raw material for the chemical industry
  • Source of renewable energy – Biofuel
  • Source of high energy and protein content for animal nutrition in the form of cake and meal
  • Catch crop for green manure and as a forage crop

Oilseed rape oil was formerly considered unfavorable for human diet because high content of erucic acid resulted unpleasant taste. Breeding programs have decreased erucic acid from 40% to 0%, while polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid and linolenic acid) of the total fatty acids have increased from 15% to 20% and from 8% to 12%, respectively.

Compared to other vegetable oils it has the lowest saturated fatty acids (6 – 8%) of the total fatty acids and it is rich in plant sterols. There is a high proportion of mono unsaturated oil acid with 58 – 60% of the total fatty acids. It has a sufficient content of linoleic acid (20 – 26%) and linolenic acid (10%) of the total fatty acids and the proportion of linoleic acid to linolenic acid is favorable (2.5:1).

Tocopherol (vitamin E) content of major vegetable oils

Oilseed rape oil contains adequate levels of tocopherols, i.e. Vitamin E. The table shows a comparison between different oil crops.

More oilseed agronomy advice

Oilseed agronomy and fertiliser advice
Oilseed agronomy and fertiliser advice

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