• Philip

The Oil Seed Rape Year

Oil Seed Rape (OSR) drilling is likely to be less than three weeks away for some growers. (I understand some planted their crops around the 8th August in 2020.)

Reading all the press coverage on OSR establishment you can easily think that Cabbage Stem Flea beetle was just a bad dream since the 20/21 crop established with such ease.

Consequently drilling OSR on the 8th August is the way back to yields of 5.0 t/ha and more. Or is it?

Certainly the crops that “died” this year did so more from pigeon grazing and water logging rather than Cabbage Stem Flea beetle attack. However after saying that, the fields that were drilled early were substantially thinned by the action of the larvae. Sure, they established a good plant population, there was definitely an increase in green area index but the loading of larvae within the plant by the end of winter meant that I did wonder what would be left come 1st April.

As for this autumn and drilling date? Well maybe forget the idea of drilling to a calendar date, maybe its better to say “drill into a moist seedbed when more moisture is assured to follow.” Or maybe sticking with “later drilling” along with several other “mitigating” options is really the way forwards?

What ever happens best not to forget other considerations such as aphids, blackgrass, club root, light leaf spot, phoma or virus and their effect on yield?