24 May 2002

Crop good for Scotland

LOOK at the financial benefits of OSR for the whole rotation, not just the current crop, growers were urged at an NK Seeds open day on SACs Kirkliston trials site, near Edinburgh last week.

Despite falling subsidies winter rape remains the main break in Scotland, with 30,000ha drilled in 2001, says SAC oilseed specialist Elaine Booth. Now miserable cereal prices mean the crop is looking even more attractive.

"While cereal prices have plummeted, winter oilseed rape prices continue to look favourable." Agronomy benefits further help justify its place in the rotation.

"It can boost following winter wheat yields by up to 35% over continuous wheat, nitrogen requirements are reduced, it benefits soil structure, tidies up weeds, spreads the workload, particularly at harvest, and enables that early entry for wheat."

Furthermore, the Scottish climate enables hybrids like Synergy and Pronto to demonstrate their full potential in terms of vigour, says Nigel Padbury of Syngenta Seeds NK oilseed and maize division. That can help OSR compete with lower yielding second and third wheats, or spring barley.

A 3.25t/ha rape crop worth £134/t gives a gross margin of £437/ha compared with £460/ha for an 8t/ha crop of feed wheat worth £61/t, assuming variable costs of £220 and £250/ha, respectively, he notes.

Two new high yielding varieties now give Scots greater choice, he says. Hybrid Royal yields 108% of controls and offers good stem stiffness and average maturity. Meanwhile, Recital offers good light leaf spot control and a gross output of 107% of control, says Mr Padbury. &#42