Know How / Oilseed rape / Establishment

The first six weeks are vital for the success of any oilseed rape crop, when it is at the mercy of the weather, pests and weeds. Find out how to make the best use of latest techniques such as companion cropping, starter fertiliser and one-pass establishment systems to get the crop off to a good start.

Case studies

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PEST MANAGEMENT

Grower's precision drill helps counter flea beetle threat

Wiltshire grower Martin Smart has invested in a new precision drill to give his oilseed rape a head start after on-farm trials showed that direct drilling helped his crops survive…

SOILS

Grower slashes inputs with soils focus and variety blends

An interest in soil health was the starting point for major changes made to Angus Gowthorpe’s mixed farming system in Yorkshire, the results of which have slashed establishment time and…

OILSEED RAPE

How top oilseed rape growers achieve high yields

Two leading Scottish Borders oilseed rape growers’ focus on crop establishment and nutrition has led them to push their average farm yields towards the 5t/ha barrier. David Fuller manages 650ha…

CROP MANAGEMENT

Farm manager's drought action plan results in 15% yield lift

Simon Eddell has spent the past seven years looking to improve his light Suffolk soils to cope with summer droughts, and the result is healthier crops and wheat yields up…

CROP MANAGEMENT

How four arable farmers made their farms more resilient

Tough times are ahead after Brexit and having a more resilient cropping system will be the key to arable farms weathering the storms. Here we take a look at how four…

OILSEED RAPE

How drought and pests have challenged our four OSR growers

Very dry soils and persistent cabbage stem flea beetle activity have made oilseed rape establishment more challenging than expected for most of our Oilseed Rape Masters this season. In the…

Practical advice

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ESTABLISHMENT

How to carry out a pre-season check on a StocksAg seeder

It wasn’t long ago that the little applicator was a slug pellet only machine, but in recent years it has gained a new lease of life as a second seed…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

The best way to manage stubbles after harvest

Unless you are one of a growing number of no-tillers or you plough every year, it is difficult to be prescriptive when it comes to post-harvest cultivation strategy. There is…

ESTABLISHMENT

Practical tips for growers sticking with oilseed rape

Farmers reluctant to grow oilseed rape again after a terrible year for establishment are being offered plenty of advice and incentives to stick with the crop ahead of the new…

PEST MANAGEMENT

Tips on how to beat flea beetle when growing oilseed rape

A combination of only drilling when there is soil moisture, selecting the right variety and giving seedlings a nutritional boost are some of the measures helping crops cope better with…

OILSEED RAPE

Four critical months to minimise OSR yield losses

Oilseed rape yields can vary by more than 1t/ha between seasons and researchers have identified ways that farmers can manage their crops to minimise seasonal effects. While the yield trend…

COVER CROPS

How a Dorset farmer grows cost-effective cover crops

Dorset grower John Martin, together with Kings Seeds, has designed his own cover crop mix, which provides the maximum benefit to his calcareous soils while also being cost-effective. He was…

Insights

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PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

Why no-till is profitable despite having a yield penalty

As machinery costs are the main driver of arable profit, no-till farms can afford to produce 1t/ha less wheat than their more conventional counterparts. Speaking at the Groundswell event in June, accountant…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

Plough, min-till and no-till compared: year one

A major trial has been set up to find the most profitable and sustainable way to grow arable crops by comparing three different establishment systems over five years. Establishment systems…

ESTABLISHMENT

Smart drill add-on offers real-time variable applications

A clever gadget that provides planter operators with real-time soil data for on-the-fly variable-rate seed and fertiliser applications could soon feature on UK farms after a recent Agco acquisition. Illinois-based…

ARABLE

Data reveals how raising crop yields can offset subsidy loss

Any reductions in support payments arising from Brexit can be covered on most UK arable farms by improved crop performance, results from ProCam’s 4Cast service suggest. The higher wheat yields…

ARABLE

Building a case for no-till crop establishment

Whether at grower meetings, hashtagged on your Twitter feed or even featured on BBC’s Countryfile on a Sunday evening, “no-till” enthusiasts are certainly making a lot of noise. Global grain…

Zero metaldehyde zones give mixed results

Mixed results have been reported by the water companies involved in the four zero metaldehyde pilot projects, resulting in some changes to the pilot schemes in the coming season. The…

OSR under threat as farmers question its future

As thoughts start to turn to cropping for the 2015-16 season, predictions suggest that oilseed rape will be the main casualty of rotational changes as farmers cut back or drop…