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Farmers benefit from soaring prices of rapeseed oil

Farmers benefit from soaring prices of rapeseed oil Photo: ITV Anglia

Farmers across the Anglia region are benefiting from soaring prices of rapeseed oil. Due to some of the shortages throughout the world of rapeseed, the price has increased quite a lot over the last couple of years which makes it a more profitable crop to grow. Harsh winter frosts have destroyed it in other European countries this year - but in Britain, it's blooming.

"Several years ago, we sold Rape at £180 to 220 a tonne. Now this crop at harvest will be worth around £350-360 a tonne. So it is actually profitable to grown now. We had enough years when it was pretty much borderline, but it's certainly profitable to grown now."

– Stephen Northern, Farmer
Farmers are turning over more of their fields to the crop Credit: ITV Anglia

With soaring prices, farmers are turning over more of their fields to the crop - transforming our region into a sea of yellow. Oilseed rape covers 3.5% of the countryside and in some counties like Bedfordshire its a tenth.

It's been cultivated throughout the world for at least four thousand years but only in the 13th century was it grown commercially to produce lamp oil. Now it's used for producing cooking oils, margarine and processed food but a large proportion is also used for making lubricants, adhesives, cosmetics and gardening products.

Production has doubled in the past 10 years, rising from just over a million tonnes to more than 2.2 million tonnes, but not everyone's so mellow about these fields of yellow. Some people believe it sets off their hayfever but, in actual fact, the heavy pollen makes it less likely to trigger allergies than other plants in the countryside.

"You can be allergic to rape but it's not very common. A lot of people at the moment who are getting hayfever symptoms are getting it due to the grass pollen allergy which is of course around just at the same time as we see all these yellow fields of rape. "

– Dr Pam Ewan, Allergy expert, Addenbrooke's Hospital
Oilseed rape covers 3.5% of the countryside Credit: ITV Anglia

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