Archive Article: 1997/12/13

13 December 1997

GROWERS want a shorter, sharper and more focused oilseed rape recommended list, says NIABs Simon Kightley. The 1998 version reflects this. Six varieties fall off; only two new names appear – and these are conventional types, not hybrids.

Its farewell to Cobra, Bristol and Inca, which were in the outclassed section. Jazz, Arietta and Lizard fail to be promoted from provisional recommendation, and vanish altogether.

New entrants are Madrigal (Novartis Seeds) and Boston (Nickerson Seeds) – both given provisionally recommended status for the whole of the UK. High treated yield won the day for Madrigal. It comes in with a score of 106 – just three points behind composite hybrid Synergy.

Madrigal is weaker-stemmed at maturity, and so forms a matted canopy, which could reduce shedding losses, comments Mr Kightley. It has excellent all-round disease resistance.

With the highest oil content on the new list, the potential financial return from Boston is attractive, and could match Madrigal – despite a lower yield score. Disease resistance is good, though light leaf spot is not quite up to that of Madrigal.

Boston is shorter and stiffer than Madrigal. Both varieties are earlier than Apex.

Regional verdicts are taken into account in the new list. Still in their two-year provisional slot, Lightning and Meteor are moved sideways into a central and southern recommendation.

Reflecting its commercial appeal in England and Wales, Apex is relegated to regional recommendation. Promoted from provisional regional recommendation, Capitol joins Apex. Scottish growers prefer earlier maturity; Gazelle and Commanche are now fully recommended for the north. That leaves Alpine, newly promoted to full general recommendation, as the only variety recommended for the whole UK.

Although new composite hybrids were tested, no new ones appear on the list. Synergy, and the fully restored types Artus and Pronto retain their yield lead, says Mr Kightley.

However, Synergy is not promoted to full recommendation, despite two years with a provisional recommendation. "We are still concerned about the reliability of pollination," he says. "Its possible that in trials the presence of other varieties may have been boosting yield."

This season composite hybrids will be trialled separately in recommended list trials, which will improve information, he suggests. Commercial, low seed rates will be adopted.

NO LONGER will spring rape growers have to wade through a long- winded descriptive list. For 1998, there is a new UK recommended list.

Now that they have to undergo judgement by NIAB Council, some varieties disappear. The survivors include mainstream commercial spring rapes, and they are joined by high yielding new entrant Canyon from Dalgety Agriculture.

But the excitement is in the spring hybrid section. Three Canadian restored spring hybrids – all Hyola numbered types from Advanta Seeds – appear. They offer high yields, hybrid vigour and rapid growth – critical factors for spring rape. One variety, Hyola 38, is exceptionally early, which should attract Scottish growers.

One new varietal association hybrid – Concept from Cargill – is also high yielding and early.

"The top hybrids offer an advantage of about £30/ha for returns over the best conventional varieties," says NIABs Mr Kightley.

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