Don’t skimp on OSR establishment

OILSEED RAPE growers are urged to consider the effect of different establishment methods on crop growth and not just choose the cheapest option this year.

Some 38% of growers surveyed by BASF said they would change their establishment technique because it was cheaper and 19% because it used less labour.

Of those surveyed, nearly half (47%) ploughed and cultivated seedbeds before drilling winter rape last autumn, but only 28% said this technique would be important this coming autumn.

“Farmers seem to be focusing disproportionately on saving time and money in their establishment approach, rather than considering the important agronomic drivers that will ensure the best start,” commented BASF’s Diane Heath.

Getting good “seed to soil” contact by consolidating the seedbed and minimising compaction from wheelings are two key factors to consider, added crop establishment consultant, Steve Townsend.

“It is important to place seed into moisture, even if it means drilling slightly deeper at 2-3cm rather than the more normal 1-2cm,” he said.

Achieving even spread and incorporation of previous harvest residues is also important, as it can put high levels of carbon into the soil, which affects following crop nutrition, he said.

“In particular, special attention should be paid to the headlands or areas of thick straw left by a poor spreading combine.”

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