DEKALB launches blue book 26-Jan-2015



A special guide to help oilseed rape growers across the UK harness the latest genetic advances to meet the crop’s major economic and environmental challenges has been published.

The 20-page Blue Book focuses on the key challenges facing UK oilseed rape growing today, exploring how best to take advantage of the particular attributes of modern hybrid yield-protecting and agronomic traits to address them in commercial practice through better -informed variety selection and variety-specific management.

It examines, in turn:

  • the best choice of hybrid type for different circumstances;
  • hybrid sowing rates and critical factors for successful establishment;
  • extra early management savings through robust hybrid disease resistance;
  • spring management and fertilisation for optimum hybrid canopies;
  • the value of hybrid pod shatter resistance and low biomass hybrid harvestability; and,
  • opportunities from High Oleic, Low Linolenic (HOLL) hybrid production.


Launching the guide as part of a new identity and focus for DEKALB at a special LAMMA briefing, OSR project lead, Kuldip Mudhar outlined the huge progress UK oilseed rape breeding has made in the past 15 years, in particular.

At the same time, though, he pointed out that growers currently face greater challenges that at almost any time in the crop’s history – not least, achieving greater consistency despite growing climatic uncertainty; countering increasing disease risks and decreasing fungicide sensitivity; coping with an escalating loss of crop protection chemistry; and minimising vulnerability to market volatility by keeping the lid on growing costs.

“These challenges make it vital for OSR producers to make the very most of all the output-maximising and input-minimising opportunities advanced hybrid genetics offer,” he stressed.

“On the one hand, for instance, we know that every extra 0.5t/ha of yield cuts typical growing costs by £10-15/tonne while every 1% above 40% oil gives a bonus of 1.5 % of the seed price and HOLL oil delivers flat rate premiums of £20-35/t.

“Equally, on the other, we know that even with a full fungicide regime the yield penalty from poor phoma stem canker resistance can be 10-15%; better establishment and faster leaf development can reduce spring nitrogen need by 50 kg/ha; and pod shatter resistant varieties can lose up to 50% less yield than susceptible ones in the run-up to and at harvest.”


“Our breeding programme has been highly successful in building a range of valuable yield-protecting and agronomic traits into modern hybrid OSR to make the most of these and other performance-improving opportunities,” explained UK marketing lead, Deryn Gilbey. “And we are now complementing this with the best possible guidance on how to utilise these traits to greatest effect in commercial practice.


“The Blue Book adds to our extensive UK programme of field scale variety trialling in parallel to traditional small plot work, our 3x3 Initiative with BASF and Yara, and up-to-the-minute information on crop condition and management through the OSR Growers Club and our developing new DEKALB website.

“This is all part of our commitment to being UK oilseed rape growers most reliable partner in driving performance through innovation firmly focused on farm success.”

To receive a copy of the book, please email your request to