Friday, December 15, 2017

Good choices available for rape varieties

July 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Crops

Oilseed variety choice has come on leaps and bounds in recent years – and 2017 is no exception, says Richard Torr.

Clearfield rape varieties are set to increase their market share, as more growers recognise their value as a management tool. These varieties are tolerant to a specific class of herbicides which, when applied post-emergence, provide control of problematic weeds as runch and charlock.

Growers who have used the Clearfield system have seen massive improvements in problem fields and are now able to get on top of these tenacious weeds and bring these “dirty” fields back into the rotation for oilseed rape

Another challenge for rape growers this season has been clubroot. It has been an increasing problem – particularly in the west. But this year has seen the introduction of some new clubroot resistant varieties to the market, which offer higher levels of control.

Resistance

DK Pliny is a new entrant for 2017, offering much better disease resistance than its counterpart Mentor, which many growers have historically grown to battle the problem of clubroot. It is also a very early maturing variety and has pod shatter resistance, which are useful developments.

Another new entrant to consider is Architect. It offers a strong agronomic package, and is the first high yielding hybrid variety with turnip yellow virus (TuYV) resistance – removing the hassle of spray for aphids in the autumn. This could prove valuable to growers in the battle against pests.

Looking forward, there is always the continual threat of light leaf spot for crops in the west. Growers won’t choose a variety with a disease rating of less than 6. With this in mind, Arrow would be a good option, possibly the best combination of yield and a very strong agronomic package.

‘Seed with speed’

Finally, a conventional variety that I’m championing this year is Campus. Known as the ‘seed with speed’, it offers more vigorous growth than many of the hybrids.

At time of writing, current crops are a little short of water, but if the seeds can continue to fill the pods to the maximum degree, then we should get some very good rape yields. The only concern I have is that some crops may be a little too thick due to near perfect establishment conditions.

Some plant populations are higher than ideal in some cases which may impact reduce seed size. Generally, the population target for a hybrid variety is around 30 plants/m2, and 40 to 50 plants/m2 for conventional varieties.

But this is a minor apprehension, and overall crops look good, with very high yield potential. As long as the conditions remain favourable, growers should be looking forward to a successful harvest, with plenty of exciting varieties to choose for the next growing season.

Richard Torr is a seed specialist with Wynnstay. For details, visit www.wynnstay.co.uk. 

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