Weather brings lodging worries

Recent wet and windy weather has increased the number of oilseed rape crops reportedly suffering from lodging, and conditions over the next two weeks will be critical to how crops stand going into harvest, says NK Crops.

Some varieties at the firm’s PEN trial sites are already starting to “lean”, but should come back, unless the wet and windy weather persists, says the firm’s Nigel Padbury.

“At the moment I don’t think there’s sufficient lean on them to drop to the floor, but if the wet weather goes on for another week or two, soil will loosen, which will weaken root anchorage and top-heavy crops may lodge.

Winds (over 25mph) will probably do more damage than the rain.”

At the Fulbourn site near Cambridge and the more exposed Louth trial in Lincolnshire, weaker standing varieties (rated 6 and 7), such as Winner, Recital and Barrel are starting to lean, but others – including most taller hybrids – are standing well, he said.

At Haywold in Yorkshire, lodging has been found in some commercial crops and some taller hybrid varieties are leaning, he noted.

“Many growers fear getting the “sea effect” where half the crop is standing and half goes flat.

But if all the crop is leaning in the same direction from half way up the stem, it can be beneficial at harvest.

The problem comes when the variety goes flat to the floor.”