Bolters wont affect final output
BOLTERS in winter rape are eye-catching but are little cause for concern, even in hybrids, say specialists.
Many southern crops are peppered with odd plants flowering unusually early. Most observers believe they are spring variety volunteers or charlock, though Ian Pugh of United Oilseeds says some are from sown crops (see p66).
Whatever their source, the rogue plants should have little effect on final crop output, all agree. Rape has huge compensatory powers, and yield losses from ultra-forward plants knocked by frost should soon be swamped by later growth, they explain.
"You never harvest the earliest flowers," adds the ARCs Mike Carver. Even if the pollinator in composite hybrids is hit there should be plenty of subsequent flowering to offset the damage, he adds.
• Also inspect stem bases for flea beetle or disease damage, advises Paul Hickman of Advanta Seeds. "Early flowering can be a response to plant damage." *
Stem shortening Folicur is a key input for lodging prone rape, agree Norfolk farmer Robert Garner of Godwick Hall Farm, Tittleshall (left) and John Taylor of United Oilseeds. Bolters are less worrying.