3 Dec 2008

Cross-pollination can cause costly problems - Fed Farmers

8:45 am on 3 December 2008

Canterbury farmers tapping into the growing demand for biofuel crops by planting oil seed rape or canola have been reminded of the need to be good neighbours.

They are being encouraged to adhere to the principles of a seed crop isolation distance mapping scheme.

The system is designed to protect high value brassica and vegetable seed crops by ensuring there is enough distance between them and other crops to prevent cross-pollination.

Having a seed crop contaminated through cross-pollination can cost growers and seed companies tens of thousands of dollars.

Federated farmers mid-Canterbury president Michael Morrow, who is a cropping farmer, said the risk of that happening has grown with the renewed interest in oilseed rape, a member of the brassica family.

He said it has the potential to cross-pollinate with high value seed brassica crops, and an isolation area of up to 2km is required.

Mr Morrow says livestock farmers diversifying into cropping may not be aware of the crop isolation requirements.

He said logging crops with the seed crop isolation distance mapping scheme can help sort out any problems.