Winter oilseed rape growers from across the country with a wide range of establishment regimes share their experiences in getting their crops off to the most consistent and reliable start in a special grower’s guide published this summer by CPM for leading breeder, DEKALB.


Having set out the main challenges of winter OSR establishment, the 20 page guide explores min-tilling in Lincolnshire, max-tilling in Yorkshire, subsoiler seeding in Suffolk, strip tilling on Holderness and power harrow drilling in Shropshire with those making each of the approaches work for them.

Their experiences are then drawn together into nine common themes that provide a handy checklist for everyone keen to improve OSR establishment:


  • Ensuring the best possible soil structure and drainage;
  • Managing cereal straw residues effectively;
  • Matching varieties to drilling date and conditions;
  • Sowing by soil condition not calendar date;
  • Adjusting seed rate to variety type and sowing regime;
  • Achieving a consistent depth of sowing;
  • Including nitrate and phosphate in the seeding zone;
  • Consolidating thoroughly and evenly; and
  • Maintaining strong pest and weed control.

“This guide is part of our long-standing effort to help growers and agronomists secure the best possible crop establishment their conditions will allow each season,” said DEKALB technical specialist, Will Vaughan-France at its Cereals 2018 launch.  “More than anything, it reflects our experience that success with OSR depends at least as much on how you do things as exactly what you do.

“As well as exploring a range of different regimes with those putting them into practice with considerable success, it pinpoints a number of valuable varietal establishment differences revealed by the latest national grower research.”

“With winter OSR, in particular, it’s critical establishment is as reliable and consistent as it can be,” noted CPM editor Tom Allen-Stevens. “There are two main ingredients for success here – the right variety and the right technique. The tricky bit is knowing which combination will consistently bring the right results.

“In farming, there’s rarely a better way of doing this than by drawing on the experiences of others. That’s what this guide has achieved, which makes it one worth hanging on to.”