Anti-pod shatter products are an important crop management tool that can help growers maximise their oilseed rape yields this season, experts have said.

Oilseed rape pods are prone to shattering pre-harvest as they swell and contract, especially during alternate wet and dry weather, said Keith Norman, arable technical manager at Velcourt.

“Crops are very short this year and are very prone to wind erosion, so there’s extra justification for using a product like Pod-Stik this season to reduce pod shatter,” he added.

“And because oilseed rape is an extremely valuable commodity at the moment, about £400/t, it is worth looking after every bit of yield.”

Pod-Stik, from De Sangosse, prevents pod splitting by strengthening the upper pod seam with a latex polymer that dries on and does not stick in the combine.

It can be applied either as a stand-alone product any time from now until harvest, or in a tank-mix to coincide with desiccation, said De Sangosse’s commercial director, Kim Christo.

“UK oilseed rape trials show that applying Pod-Stik increases yields by about 0.3t/ha, worth an extra £40-80/ha for an £11/ha spend,” he added.

Growers reported that Pod-Stik helps reduce losses at the header of the combine, Mr Christo said. “It leaves less volunteers for the following crop, reducing feeding ground for slugs.”

Oilseed rape growers in northern regions could benefit most from using Pod-Stik this season, he reckons. “They get more weather extremes, wet and dry conditions, and high winds that knock crops about and increase pod shatter. They also have later harvests.”

AICC agronomist Hamish Coutts from Perthshire said: “I have used Pod-Stik or similar products in the past and I wouldn’t even contemplate applying Reglone (diquat) to desiccate crops without it.

“The pods get so brittle when you apply diquat and that unless you apply a good anti-pod shatter product, you should expect to lose yield.”