OILSEED RAPE crops should get off to a good start this season, as conditions for development are ideal, say agronomists.
Cracked subsoils after the dry summer will aid drainage and root development, explained Countrywide Farmers agronomist, Jeff Summers.
Recent rainfall has also moistened the topsoil and resulted in a good flush of volunteers and blackgrass – which can be controlled with a low-cost rate of glyphosate, he said.
“Those who stick with low-input regimes and feel unsure about osr returns will be assured that conditions are currently some of the best we’ve ever had – I can’t remember a more ideal situation.”
The good soil conditions should suit plough-based or minimum-tillage establishment methods, added Peter Wastling from Northumberland-based McCreath Simpson & Prentice.
Growers must ensure any compacted areas are dealt with before drilling, as restricted root growth is one of the main reasons for poor oilseed rape yields, he advised.
Early nitrogen is also essential for the rape crop to establish properly in the autumn so a minimum 20kgs should be applied, he said.
“Conditions are perfect for pre and early post applications of metazachlor based products but don’t delay too long as shepherds purse once germinated will not be controlled by these products.”
For weekly field reports from a team of agronomists around the UK, visit FWi’s Crop Watch.