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Seed & Establishment

Bayer Crop Science

Top Grower Techniques for Minimising OSR Risks

Oilseed rape growers across the country have found 10 particular management techniques of the greatest value in minimising their crop-growing risks in recent years, according to the Dekalb national OSR benchmarking study run each spring since 2019/20.

The Bayer-run study involving 900 growers responsible for over 93,000ha of OSR plantings shows sowing only when conditions are reasonable, seedbed fertilisation and elimination of compaction ahead of drilling as the three most valuable techniques with an average score of 7.9 out of 10 or more.

These are closely followed by choosing vigorous fast-developing hybrid varieties, employing pod shatter resistant varieties, minimising costs until the crop is well enough established, and spreading organic manures. Also scored at 7.5 or more out of 10 by growers are prioritising varieties with all-round agronomic strength, earlier drilling and maintaining the best disease control (Figure).

Figure: Top OSR Growing Risk Minimisation Techniques

Source: Dekalb National OSR Benchmarking Studies 2020 - 2024; Bayer, June 2024

“The fact that no less than nine of the most valued OSR growing risk minimisation techniques from the total of 26 widely employed by growers involve decisions made ahead of, at or around establishment clearly shows where the priority has to be in managing the crop,” notes Bayer technical manager, Ellie Borthwick-North. “And underling the crucial role genetics play here, these include all three of the variety-based techniques employed.

“While there is clearly some variation between seasons, multi-year analysis of our benchmarking studies shows a very close relationship between the quality of establishment and overall crop success.

“To such an extent that growers should be able to predict the likelihood of plantings being worth taking to harvest each year with some reliability from a simple October scoring of crop establishment.

“This would be very useful in enabling them to make decisions on crop viability and management as early as possible in the season.”

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