24 May 2002

On a par with best

OILSEED rape variety Pollen is at least on a par with RL-list leader Winner and has a longer track record to prove it, says new UK marketing agent Ebbage Seeds.

ARC work in the UK and a 31% share of the French crop support those assertions. But previous marketing agent PBI Cambridge promoted Canberra instead, so Pollen is not yet Recommended Listed. "You could argue they chose the wrong variety," says Ebbage Seeds technical manager Stuart Cree.

In ARC work, Pollen averaged a yield score of 100 in 2000 and 2001 to Canberras 94. Recital and Escort averaged 100 and 99, respectively, in the same trials series.

Winner only entered the ARC system last year and Pollen pipped it for yield, averaging 4.005t/ha across the seven sites to Winners 3.997t/ha, making it the highest yielding non-hybrid variety.

Add a potential 0.7% oil content advantage to a seed cost saving and growers can expect better returns, maintains Mr Cree. "There is a chance for a gross output over Winner of £20-60/ha."

Disease resistance ratings for light leaf spot, phoma and downy mildew are all estimated at seven. That compares with NIAB ratings for Winner of seven, seven and eight. Mr Cree puts Pollens lodging resistance at eight compared with Winners seven.

Ebbage Seeds managing director, John Ebbage, says there is enough seed for a 10% market share this autumn. Packed in 4ha packs, at 5.5kg/ha seed-rate, cost will be just under £40/ha (£16/acre) including Chinook (beta-cyfluthrin + imidacloprid) treatment. &#42

&#8226 Top conventional osr – ARC.

&#8226 All-round disease resistance.

&#8226 Lodging resistant.

&#8226 Output £20-60/ha over Winner?