23 February 1996

OSR:Hang fire on feed

DONT feed oilseed rape too soon this spring. Nitrogen will be needed when the crop starts to grow, but not before, says Morley Research Centres Ben Freer.

"It doesnt need to go on very early. Wait until the plant changes from its rosette habit and starts to stick its head up."

Between 200-240kg/ha (160-192 units/acre) will be adequate for a 4t/ha crop (32 cwt/acre), he advises. And it can all go on at once. "Weve not found any advantage in splitting the dose, though logistically it may be easier, especially as most oilseed rape will need sulphur this spring." About 30kg/ha of S or 75kg/ha of SO3 (24 units/acre of S or 60 units/acre of SO3) should be applied as an NS compound in the first dressing on deficient soils.

&#8226 Recent frosts have opened crops up, making it easier to see herbicide misses, says ADAS. If grass weeds are a worry check now and spray using Laser (cycloxydim) or Hoegrass (diclofop-methyl), it advises. Both can still be used and add ryegrass control, a growing problem in some areas.