OSR potential will need careful management

Article taken from the Scottish Farmer

The potential for some big oilseed rape crops will need active management if they are to make the most of it, according to Agrovista’s Mark Hemmant, who was speaking recently at a partnered event with BASF at Stoughton.

He said that the building blocks for good yields are already in place, especially for those crops drilled using deeper min-till, he said, adding: “But, we still have some way to go with many crops almost certainly lodging-prone.

“Also, the excess biomass present in many crops will create shaded canopies with limited branching potential, shown in our Growcrop Gold trials to limit seed set and pod fill.”

There are three types of crops coming through to this spring – quickly established crops that are running out of steam and declining rapidly; low seed rate crops with good structure and biomass; and, thirdly, high seed rate crops which are going to be vulnerable to lodging and shaded canopy issues.

“The main agronomic attention needs to be to minimise pigeon damage, delay nitrogen applications but ensure well-timed sulphur applications and the application of a robust growth regulating fungicide programme,” he argued.

He sees the growth regulator, Caryx, as an important ally this spring.  “Launched last spring, it is the only plant growth regulator for oilseed rape.  ADAS work has shown that it is very good at reducing lodging risk as well as managing canopies.”

But, it can only be applied once in a season, so applications should be made at stem extension to control lodging but for canopy manipulation to improve architecture for light penetration, then applications should be at yellow bud stage along with a strobilurin for sclerotinia, he recommended.

Mr Hemmant suggested that 1.0 l/ha of Caryx is likely to do a similar job to full rate of metconazole, but added that on high-risk, high fertility sites, a full rate of 1.4 l/ha would be his recommendation.

BASF’s Will Reyer sees Caryx and the assessment of GAI as crucial this spring.  “A plant’s seed numbers are set in the two to three weeks after the end of flowering, the challenge thereafter is to ensure seeds fill well, but keeping plants healthy to maximise photosynthesis, which can be achieved by having a green area index (GAI) of 2.4-4.0 at flowering.”

  • BASF and Agrovista have launched an updated GAI App for iPhone.  The app gives an accurate assessment of an OSR crop’s GAI from a digital photograph taken with your phone.  This is a critical indicator for growth regulation application decisions for both conventional and wide-row crops.  Trials suggest that just prior to onset of stem extension is the right time to measure canopy size.


22 February 2014

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