Growers want reliable oilseed rape

3 August 2001

Growers want reliable oilseed rape


WINTER oilseed rape growers priorities when choosing varieties are shifting, according to a Monsanto PBIC Seeds survey.

Output — the combination of yield and oil content — remains the top requirement, but reliability and disease resistance are key needs identified in the survey.

“Growers dont just want yield, they want varieties which are consistent both in yield and other factors such as establishment and crop growth, said the firms technical specialist Clive Sutton.

The telephone survey of 103 leading growers, each with an average of 50ha (125 acres) of rape, was carried out in May by the National Farm Research Unit.

More than half the growers (52.4%) made yield reliability their number one choice, 15.3% put disease resistance first and 13.2% plumped for saw standing ability.

Last autumns spraying difficulties, which left many crops with more stem canker, led to disease resistance overtaking standing ability, said Mr Sutton.

Resistance to lodging at flowering is also well to the fore in the survey responses.

“Semi-stiff varieties that produce leaning canopies at harvest can be an advantage, but lodging at flowering is a definite no no,” he said.

With harvest costing about 25% of the crops value, according to Claas, factors that increase efficiency, such as short straw and low biomass, are of increasing value.

“Canberra is the shortest variety on the Recommended List. Being able to direct cut saves 30-35/ha on swathing. This can be about 7% of crop value, which is quite startling.”

Reliability is not generally at the forefront of growers questions when visiting trial plots, says NIAB oilseeds specialist Simon Kightley.

“Nobody talks to me about reliability. Everyone hopes for it, but it is very difficult to measure because you need to assess it over many years.


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