Farming News - Satellite data reveals reduction in oilseed rape area

Satellite data reveals reduction in oilseed rape area

30 Aug 2017
Frontdesk / Arable

Figures published last week by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) reveal that the area of oilseed rape grown across Britain has declined by 15% in the past three years, a reduction of 97,000 ha.

The land cover data, gained from satellite imaging, revealed a marked reduction in oilseed rape grown in East Anglia in particular since 2015, though declines in the area were seen across the regions. In Eastern England, there has been a consistent decline for the last three years, though in the South East, South West, Scotland, West Midlands and Yorkshire the oilseed rape area actually increased slightly in 2017.

The CEH figures were produced in conjunction with Anglian Water, as part of a scheme aimed at helping water companies better understand agricultural activity in their catchments, and better provide safe drinking water.

Discussing other benefits of the land cover mapping work, John Redhead, a spatial ecologist at CEH, said, "The advantage of using remote sensing data to create a full-coverage crop map is that we can look in detail at cropping patterns over time and space, from the national trends presented here to the surroundings of individual sites. By using these data in combination with other CEH datasets we can start to examine what effects differences in cropping patterns are likely to have on the environment."