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Oilseed Rape

We know that growing oilseed rape can be challenging so we have gathered together everything you need to know about oilseed rape here. From establishment to harvest we can provide insight about crop management and protection to help maximise yields.

Posted 7 months ago

April

What’s happening in oilseed rape in April

Warmer, drier weather is, at last, helping surviving oilseed rape crops grow away from flea beetle and waterlogging. As they move rapidly towards and into flowering, it is particularly important to watch out for Sclerotinia and maintain light leaf spot protection, especially following the epidemic levels of disease identified by Bayer’s SpotCheck this season.

The Sclerotinia risk is likely to vary very widely from field to field with more-forward crops  starting to flower while those struggling to recover are well behind and seem certain to flower over a much longer period.

Extended flowering, of course, means a greater exposure to Sclerotinia, so a repeat flowering spray may be necessary to see these crops through their vulnerable stage. 

Extra protection to reduce light leaf spot cycling and build-up should pay particular dividends in many cases too.

With its proven activity against both Sclerotinia and light leaf spot, the newly-available chemistry of Aviator (bixafen + prothioconazole) will be especially valuable here. As an SDHI, bixafen’s well-recognised physiological value in maintaining green leaf area offers additional help to backward crops.

While a pollen beetle spray hasn’t been necessary for most forward crops, those flowering later and coming into the green/yellow bud stage may need protecting with a timely insecticide spray. And no-one should forget how damaging seed weevil – and ensuing pod midge infestations – can be.

Priority this month (location dependent):

  •        Manage Sclerotinia spraying carefully to crop flowering period

March

What’s happening in oilseed rape in March

Surviving oilseed rape crops will start to grow away in March, but cabbage stem flea beetle larvae may well still threaten and will need monitoring. It is worth making observations about which varieties and establishment regimes have coped best with both initial attacks in the autumn and any larval damage to help inform decision making next autumn.

Given the difficult weather conditions over autumn and winter, travelling has been a challenge and there are many crops which have not received a fungicide spray to date. The mild temperatures have been conducive to light leaf spot development, and so utilising a fungicide such as Proline (prothioconazole) at this timing is critical to protect the crop ahead of stem extension. 

This is particularly pertinent given the difficulties drilling winter wheat – it may be that oilseed rape is one of the only paying crops this season, and so protecting its yield could be critical come harvest. 

Priorities this month (location dependent): 

  • Utilise our SpotCheck service to assess light leaf spot levels in the crop 
  • If necessary, spray for light leaf spot, when suitable to travel

February

What’s happening in oilseed rape in February

Oilseed rape crops looked very small, and were struggling towards the end of the year, however mild conditions over Christmas have allowed those crops which have established well to continue growing away. 

Where oilseed rape has not established well it is important to remember that it is a resilient crop, which branches well in low plant population scenarios. Around 15 plants/m2 is sufficient for a viable crop, so it is best to be patient and not write it off until you have to. 

Given the difficult weather conditions over autumn and winter, travelling has been a challenge and there are many crops which have not received a fungicide spray to date. The mild temperatures have been conducive to light leaf spot development, and so utilising a fungicide such as Proline (prothioconazole) at this timing is critical to protect the crop ahead of stem extension. 

This is particularly pertinent given the difficulties drilling winter wheat – it may be that oilseed rape is one of the only paying crops this season, and so protecting its yield could be critical come harvest. 

Priorities this month (location dependent): 

  • Utilise our SpotCheck service to assess light leaf spot levels in the crop 
  • If necessary, spray for light leaf spot, when suitable to travel

December/January

What’s happening in oilseed rape in December/January

As winter looms, those oilseed rape crops that have survived cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) attack are now in full leaf production. Larvae remain a threat, and any backwards crops will also be at risk from pests such as slugs and pigeons. 

Bayer’s SpotCheck service has already identified multiple cases of Light Leaf Spot infection around the UK, and while many crops have reached Phoma threshold, given the wet weather, ability to travel may be the limiting factor in disease control until the rain stops. 

However, utilise our free SpotCheck service to monitor disease prevalence, so you can make informed disease management decisions when it is suitable to travel. 

Priorities this month (location dependent): 

  • Utilise our SpotCheck service to assess LLS and Phoma disease levels in the crop 
  • If necessary, spray for Phoma and LLS, when suitable to travel

November

What’s happening in oilseed rape in November

For those crops that have survived cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) attack, leaf production is in full swing as winter looms for oilseed rape. 

Oilseed rape crops now enter the danger zone for Phoma and Light Leaf Spot (LLS) infection. Late-summer and early autumn rain has caused a relatively early onset of Phoma in some locations this year. To understand what stage of infection your crop is at for Phoma, LLS and other key oilseed rape diseases, it is worth utilising our free SpotCheck service to check for the prevalence of these diseases in your crop, and make informed disease management decisions.  

Pest activity will reduce as temperatures decline, however some regions may still find signs of aphids and flea beetles during early November. Continue to monitor crops and regularly check the AHDB’s Aphid News bulletins for activity in your locality. 

Priorities this month (location dependent): 

  • Utilise our SpotCheck service to assess LLS and Phoma disease levels in the crop 
  • If necessary, spray for Phoma and LLS 
  • Continue to monitor flea beetle and aphid populations as necessary 

The Big Picture Oilseed Rape

Through extensive analysis of national independent data from the past five seasons, this report shows the impact of the challenges faced when growing oilseed rape, and how you have responded.

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