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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 4 months ago


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


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 


What’s happening in oilseed rape in October

The dry and warm September provided perfect conditions for cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) and slowed down crop growth, which is a toxic mix. Despite this there are some good crops around the country, although too many reports of areas not surviving too.

An approach fast becoming popular to combat CSFB attack has been companion cropping. This case study with Cambridgeshire farmer David White, who has been able to return to oilseed rape through companion cropping, highlights some promising results with this strategy.

Two further threats to the crop are worth watching out for this month. First diseases like Phoma and light leaf spot could start to bubble up. Use our SpotCheck service to check for these diseases.

Also check the AHDB’s Aphid News bulletins regularly for Myzus persicae (peach-potato aphid), the vector of Turnip Yellows Virus (TuYV). The virus can reduce yield by as much as 30%, making the identification of the aphid vital in order to protect crops. Remember the peach-potato aphid is resistant to pyrethroids, so alternative methods are required to minimise yield reduction.

Priorities this month (location dependent): 

  • Walk crop and assess establishment
  • Look out for Phoma and light leaf spot and treat if necessary
  • Monitor pests and if necessary, consider control options 


What’s happening in oilseed rape in September

Oilseed rape drilling has been progressing across the country. For those that drilled in August, the hot weather across the August bank holiday was not helpful for oilseed rape establishment where crops were at cotyledon stage, with a surge in attacks from cabbage stem flea beetles (CSFB).

In September, the remaining crops will be drilled. How late you can drill in September will depend on what part of the country you farm. In this month, as in August, it is all about getting the crop away – so take advantage of good soil conditions and consider variety choice carefully – a vigorous hybrid could be beneficial.

Pay careful attention to how the crop is establishing and any factors that may be impacting growth such as pests and weeds. Be particularly mindful of cabbage stem flea beetle and think carefully about insecticide applications. Remember many CSFB populations can be resistant to pyrethroids, so always use an integrated pest management approach.

If growing multiple varieties on-farm, compare progression in the early stages, above and below ground, as this could help inform both crop management this season and next season’s variety choices.

Priorities this month (location dependent):

  • Finish drilling OSR
  • Walk crop and assess establishment
  • Assess weed risk and monitor for cereal volunteers
  • Monitor pests and if necessary, consider control options  


What’s happening in oilseed rape in August

Depending on location and weather, oilseed rape harvest may either be complete or still ongoing. Likewise for many establishing next season’s crop will begin this month.

With many areas now at risk from cabbage stem flea beetle attack, choosing a vigorous hybrid variety with rapid leaf development can help limit pest damage. But it is important to get the crop off to the best possible start by drilling in the best possible conditions for fast establishment, so monitor soil moisture and seed-beds carefully. The use of starter fertiliser will also help get the crop established quicker.

Phoma risk is driven by August rainfall. A catchy harvest is likely to mean an increased risk of early Phoma infections, so it’s also worth considering a variety with good Phoma resistance to reduce risk.

Priorities this August (location dependent):

  • Finish OSR harvest
  • Choose an appropriate variety and establish the crop in best possible conditions 
  • Monitor weather to assess Phoma risk

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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