Oilseed rape in flower©Cultura/Rex Shutterstock

Oilseed rape variety Amalie is being reconsidered for the HGCA Recommended List, because of its valuable resistance against turnip yellows virus (TuYV).

Agronomists predicted an increased virus threat after the loss of neonicotinoid seed treatments in December 2013.

This is because the virus is spread by aphids, the key one being the peach potato aphid (Myzus persicae).

“About 74% of Myzus persicae are infected with the virus and it is hosted by many species of crop as well as weeds,” said Agrii seed technical manager David Leaper at a press briefing at North Farm, Wiltshire.

See also: Turnip yellows virus hits 80% of OSR crop in some regions

“So you can view it as endemic in some crops and weeds.”

The TuYV aftermath of the neonicotinoid ban is supported by early results from a nationwide survey being carried out by Warwick University for OSR breeder Limagrain UK.

It reveals TuYV infection is as high as 80% this season, with the worst hit crops in the south of England.

“We have already seen heavy infections on some farms this year that will lead to potential yield loss,” said Mr Leaper. However, he added that the extent of losses are unknown as there is no information.

“Worryingly for farmers, you cannot take it out by using insecticides. Seed treatments are the only real way to prevent infection,” he warned.

“But the good news is that there is a resistant variety, Amalie, and there is also a new seed treatment on the horizon.”

Limagrain senior OSR breeder Vasilis Gegas explained that Amalie narrowly missed out on the 2013-14 list and a technical issue meant it was deferred a year.

“But now it is back as a candidate [for the 2016-17 list] in a special category for turnip yellows virus.”

Mr Leaper believes the variety has a valuable role, particularly in warmer parts of the UK where risk is highest, and when drilling early.

Seed available for the coming season also has high resistance to stem canker (8) and light leaf spot (7) as well as good lodging resistance.