24 May 2002

WOSR prospect all set to make mark on market

A host of oilseed rape

launches took place last

week. Andrew Blake,

Andrew Swallow and

Shelley Wright report

THREE Kent fields, totalling 30ha (74 acres), could provide enough seed of a new winter oilseed rape variety to capture 5% of next years UK certified market.

That is the hope of Norfolk-based Goreham and Bateson for its Danish-bred Tequila, which is being marketed jointly with Cebeco Seeds.

Although lower yielding than some other conventional types, Tequila has performed consistently in trials and out-rates some key varieties in a range of field characters, says G&Bs Trevor Cope.

The new variety, to be considered for recommendation for 2003, surpasses control varieties for overall merit, being particularly strong on lodging resistance and stem stiffness, scoring eight for each.

That has not been seen since Apex was listed nearly a decade ago, says Mr Cope. "It has outstanding straw characteristics."

Yield alone is clearly not enough to persuade growers to choose a particular variety, adds Horizon Seeds David Ramdhian. Fortress, for example, took 17% of last years market, despite being several points adrift of Recital and the hybrids Royal and Disco. Tequila matches or beats both Fortress and top yielding newcomer Winner on a range of characters.

The very high yield rating of Recommended List leader Winner is partly based on exceptionally good results in its first year of national list trials, adds Mr Cope. He questions its consistency compared with Tequila.

With rape at £140/t Tequila growers can expect an extra £34/ha (£13.50/acre) over Apex, Mr Cope calculates. But it is quite late maturing, notes NIABs Simon Kightley. &#42

&#8226 Candidate for 2003 RL.

&#8226 Outstanding straw features.

&#8226 High overall merit rating.

&#8226 Beats NIAB controls on yield.

&#8226 Seed cost as Recital/Fortress.

Tequilas strengths have come to the fore in Denmark as well as the UK, say Trevor Cope (left) and breeder Habibur Rahman.