Oilseed rape yields in HGCA Recommended List trials are 10% higher than the five-year mean, mirroring the good yields being reported commercially.
With 14 of 28 trials harvested, all in the east and west region, average yields stood at 5.5t/ha this season, 0.5t/ha more than the five-year mean of 5.0t/ha, Simon Oxley, HGCA Recommended List manager, said: “The season seems to be favouring all varieties in the east and west.”
That was reflected by the two most popular varieties commercially: DK Cabernet, which had 24% market share according to the results of a HGCA planting survey, and Excalibur with 12%, both being at the upper end of the yield scale, despite having very different maturity dates, he said.
“We had good establishment in the autumn, allowing the crops to put down a good root system that is probably able to take advantage during and after the dry spell.”
Of the mainstream commercial varieties in the RL trials, only Castille is performing significantly poorer than its five-year long-term average, yielding 5% down at 91% of the controls. “It was number three on our planting survey with 9% share. Its long-term mean was already below average, but that is being accentuated this season.”
Sesame, which growers seemed to either love or hate, said Dr Oxley, was among the top-yielding varieties again this season at 105% of the controls, which meant its five-year average stood at 107%, one percent ahead of DK Cabernet and candidate conventional variety, Rivalda, a KWS variety.
All five non-specialist candidate varieties for the east and west region were giving good yields, including DK Expower and the semi-dwarf hybrid Thorin from LSPB. The latter’s yield stood at 106% of the control for this season, and 103% for the over-years mean, suggesting the gap between semi-dwarf hybrids and taller varieties could be continuing to close.
“It has done particularly well at one site in Herefordshire, which has helped bring its mean up,” Dr Oxley pointed out. “So we will have to see whether it holds on when all the results are in.”
But none of the new varieties appeared to be offering a jump in performance like DK Cabernet and Sesame had in previous seasons, he admitted.