Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Drill-and-forget oilseed rape varieties increasingly popular

July 2, 2019 by  
Filed under Crops

Hybrid oilseed rape will dominate the UK market in the next five years as drill-and-forget varieties become increasingly popular with growers, forecasts a major breeder.

“A lot has changed in recent years as far as oilseed rape production is concerned with the UK market characterised by a rapidly dwindling agrochemical arsenal and highly variable growing conditions,” says Mike Mann of DSV UK.

“The pressure is on for breeders to ‘fast-track’ varieties where in-built genetics effectively replace the role of the sprayer in the crop’s management and enable the plant to cope with a wide variety of external challenges.”

Some 90% of all oilseed rape grown in mainland Europe is hybrid – and in countries with extreme winters and highly challenging growing conditions, hybrids are the only type of oilseed rape that will survive and thrive.

Wise decision

“Over the years, such countries have been the testing ground for DSV varieties and it has proved to be a wise decision,” says Mr Mann.

“The truth is in a good year, a modern conventional variety will produce a similar yield to a hybrid, but in a testing year they will fall well short and such good years seem to be increasingly far apart.”

Attributes that made hybrids successful in the first place – resilience, vigour and reliability – are now more important than ever, adds Mr Mann. But speed of development is critical too, he adds.

“Where it can take many years of trial and error breeding to introduce beneficial characteristics into conventional varieties, with hybrids it can take a fraction of the time.

“The beauty of the hybrid approach is that such stacked layers can be quickly developed and assimilated in new varieties – a process that would take years to accomplish with conventional varieties.”

DSV’s latest varieties stack these disease resistance and agronomic properties to provide a new generation of oilseed rape. Easier to manage, they are as close to “drill and forget” varieties as is possible at the present time, says Mr Mann.

Genetic resistance

They include DSV Temptation – a double-layer variety with multi-gene resistance to phoma and light leaf spot plus genuine genetic resistance to Turnip Yellow Virus (TuYV).

“Newly added to the AHDB recommended list last December, DSV Temptation has outstanding yield and oil content yet offers the highest levels of agronomic performance possible too.

“DSV Darling and Dazzler, now moving through the UK testing system, are true triple-layer varieties with pod shatter resistance added to the multi-gene resistance to phoma and light leaf spot and TuYV resistance of DSV Temptation.”

Such varieties have a number of advantages, says Mr Mann. They combine dependable high yields with low inputs – making them the perfect choice for the integrated management approach favoured by many growers.

“The bottom line is that we can react almost in real time to the needs of growers and produce varieties that address their concerns and offset much of the threat climate, disease and pest attack presents – all underpinned by the resilience and yield potential.”

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