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A new variety and completely different approach to establishment have rewarded John & Alan Dunne with their highest oilseed rape yields ever at Ballycotton in East Cork.

They’re used to yields of up to 4.7t/ha on their productive but relatively high pH ground. But this year’s 19ha crop of DK Expansion is the first to break the 5t/ha mark. And quite convincingly too, delivering 5.26 t/ha at 9% moisture. It’s also the first crop of OSR they’ve ever grown without ploughing.

“We chose the variety because of its excellent performance in official Irish trials last year,” explained John. “Because the ground was so dry we strip-till drilled it directly into spring barley stubble in late August with the Sumo DTS rather than into the plough as we’ve always done in the past.

“We included seedbed N, P and K for the best early nutrition in land we know locks-up phosphorus, in particular, quite badly. Following the drill rapidly with a single roll meant the least loss of precious moisture and the best seed-to-soil contact.

“This and the variety’s great autumn vigour saw it establish nice and evenly from 45 seeds/m2 to give a very consistent spring stand of 28 plants/m2 and a nice deep canopy with strong stems. Pod shatter resistance allowed the crop to cope well with the prolonged flowering season and, though tall, it stood stiffly through to harvest and was a joy to combine.

“DK Expansion is a valuable step forward from the DK Extrovert we grew previously,” he stressed. “We’re sticking firmly with the variety – and, almost certainly, strip-till drilling too – for this season’s crop, going-in after second wheat.”

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