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At Field Hall Farm just outside Uttoxeter, Rob Atkin is pleased with the 4.0 t/ha he’s brought in from the 21 ha of DK Excited he tried this season for the first time, not least with harvest prices currently north of £450/t before bonuses. His 31 ha of farm favourite, DK Exalte averaged 3.8 t/ha, which is much better than the 2.8 t/ha it averaged in 2020.

With November 2022 futures remaining around £400/t and good soil moisture levels, he is upping his OSR area to around 70 ha this autumn, divided equally between the two hybrids.

“Like DK Exalte and the Excalibur we always used to grow, DK Excited suits us well,” he explains. “It has the vigour and fast autumn development needed to get away from the pheasants and partridges that are our biggest establishment threat. In another catchy harvest, we also much appreciated the DEKALB pod shatter resistance that minimises our risk of losses.”

Having combined his last field of OSR in the first week of August, Mr Atkin started min-till drilling his next crop of DK Excited early the very next morning at his usual 40 seeds/m2. Silt ground highly vulnerable to compaction was ‘Shakaerated’ at 12-15 inches after winter barley to eliminate any impediment to rooting.

“We’d like to direct drill OSR, as we do wherever possible with our cereals,” says Mr Atkin. “But we’ve found we just can’t get the crop up and away without any delay unless we have enough good tilth for the best seed-to-soil contact.

“OSR remains a brilliant crop for us as long as it escapes the game birds. Which means sowing the right variety early enough into a decent seedbed then giving it a helping hand with some early nitrogen. This recipe works well for us – and should stand us in good stead in countering any future flea beetle threats.”

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