Hybrid winter oilseed rape out-performed conventional varieties by more than 0.3 t/ha on farm last season, according to benchmark independent harvest data just published.
John Swire explores growers’ experience of Clearfield OSR in a special Agronomist & Arable Farmer study
Clearfield oilseed rape was originally introduced into M.E.S Dart & Partners 1000 ha arable rotation near Wallingford, Oxon to deal with charlock and runch problems. But five years on it is proving of much wider value for manager, Mark Oldroyd and his assistant, Jack Bedlow.
Results from the first two years of Oilseed YEN highlight a number of potentially fruitful avenues for performance improvement.
Despite increasing pressures from verticillium wilt and flea beetle, the crop remains a key part of the partnership’s 1500 ha rotation.
Attention to detail from well before the crop is planted through to the latest possible desiccation has seen the J.S. Scholes Partnership improve oilseed rape yields on the Yorkshire Wolds by fully a tonne per hectare over the past 10 years.
Better understanding the crop has enabled Richard Budd to markedly improve the reliability as well as the performance level of 100-120 ha of oilseed rape he grows as part of his 1100 ha combinable cropping business on and around the High Weald near Hawkhurst in Kent.
Having brought in a remarkably consistent average of just over 4.5t/ha from OSR on their Wold land at Arras Farm near Market Weighton for the past five years, Chris and Wendy Kendall are confident they can push this to a good 5t/ha.
A reduced area of the crop and firm demand across Europe means a positive 2019 outlook for UK oilseed rape prices, suggest the latest AHDB analyses. What is more, the lack of EU tariffs on raw rapeseed means that even a ‘hard’ Brexit is unlikely to interfere with exports.
Carefully tailored winter OSR management will be more essential than ever this spring to cope with massive differences in crop growth and development following an extremely challenging autumn for many.