New OSR seed mix to combat cabbage stem flea beetle

RAGT Seeds is set to launch a novel oilseed rape/companion crop seed mixture to help reduce cabbage stem flea beetle damage and boost crop performance.

The mix, called RGT Beetleblocker, consists of new hybrid candidate oilseed rape, RGT Blackmillion, which offers very high gross output, solid disease resistance scores and verticillium wilt resistance, along with two legumes, fenugreek and berseem clover.

See also: Practical tips for growers sticking with oilseed rape

“Fenugreek, a key ingredient in curries, appears to act as a natural repellent to cabbage stem flea beetle,” says RAGT’s head of forage crops Helen Wilson.

“In a recent independent trial in France the herb reduced cabbage stem flea beetle numbers by 25% by early October and by 70% at the end of that month when sown as a companion crop.

“This effect helps reduce direct feeding damage on young plants as well as egg laying and subsequent spring larval hatch. We will investigate these benefits further next season.”

Berseem clover has been added to boost weed suppression, nitrogen fixing and soil conditioning.

RGT Beetleblocker will be available from all merchants on a limited basis for sowing 2020.

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