For the second year in a row, John & Alan Dunne have broken the 5t/ha mark with their oilseed rape at Killeagh in East Cork.
Last year’s 19ha crop of DK Expansion was the first to break the 5t/ha mark, averaging
5.26 t/ha at 9% moisture. And they’ve done so again, their 20ha of the variety on higher elevation land averaging 5.1t/ha at 10% moisture this season.
“We chose the variety because of its excellent first showing in official Irish trials in 2018,” explains John Dunne. “It confirmed this in last year’s trials to stand well within the top five of the 25 varieties tested and the only variety to exceed 110% of controls for two years in a row.
“Once again we direct drilled the variety with a Sumo DTS rather than sowing into ploughed ground as we’d always done in the past. “We also included seedbed N, P and K for the best early nutrition and followed-up rapidly with the roller for the least loss of precious moisture and best seed-to-soil contact.”
Going-in after winter wheat at 50 seeds/m2 in the first week of September – around a week later than Mr Dunne considers ideal – the crop suffered more slug problems than previously.
Despite this and a similarly wet winter to most of the UK, it grew away strongly to establish a nice, even 22-25 plant/m2 stand with a deep, well-branched canopy. Good rooting ensured an excellent seed set in the favourable April and enabled the crop to deal with persistent dryness through May with little visible impact on seed number or size.
“Once again, we’re well-pleased with DK Expansion. It has performed consistently on very different ground and shown its ability to deal with more challenging conditions,” says Mr Dunne. “It has certainly raised the yield bar for us and is our first-choice variety again this autumn.”