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Twin-Cropping strategy advice for OSR growers

Date Added: 06/01/2011

Oilseed rape growers should start thinking now about moving to a twin variety strategy for their autumn rotation to minimise the risk of yield losses due to unpredictable weather and to spread the harvest workload.

That is the advice of Beckii Gibbs, Seed Manager for United Oilseeds, who believes that growers who select to use just one variety across all of their oilseed rape area are taking an unnecessary gamble with yields by not spreading their risks accordingly.

"The last two summers have shown that weather patterns in the UK are getting less predictable to forecast. Wet weather has delayed harvesting and subsequent plantings for two successive years and in some parts of the UK that has resulted in below par establishment and lower than expected yields", Ms Gibbs explains.

"It may seem early in the year to be considering next autumn's rotation, but farmers should start thinking now about adopting a sowing strategy that minimises the risks associated with unfavourable weather conditions.  By choosing to grow two or more varieties growers can mitigate these effects by spreading their bets".

But Ms Gibbs warns that growers must select varieties that are compatible.  "Growers should select one variety that is suitable for sowing early in the drilling window, and one that can be sown further down the line.  Ideally these varieties should also compliment each other by having different harvesting windows, with the first being an early maturing variety, and the second a late maturer".

This advice comes as United Oilseeds confirms its portfolio of autumn oilseed varieties for the 2011/12 season which includes seven conventional and twelve hybrid varieties.  Of these, four varieties - DK Camelot, DK Exquisite, Flash and Eiffel are available exclusively from United Oilseeds. 

Of the varieties offered by United Oilseeds, Ms Gibbs suggests that the Dekalb varieties, DK Cabernet and DK Camelot, would make the ideal pairing for many growers.

"DK Cabernet and DK Camelot possess a lot of the agronomic attributes that make them a winning combination.  DK Camelot is early maturing (6) whereas DK Cabernet is much later (4).  Both varieties also offer excellent gross output (both at 107%) as well as high oil content (DK Camelot 46.6%, DK Cabernet 45.5%).

"Not only will this pairing help to ease the pressure during the busy autumn drilling and summer harvesting seasons, they will provide good yields and significant oil bonuses.  At a time when rapseed prices are at a recent high, they offer growers an opportunity to really capitalise on their return from investment".

Ms Gibbs expects DK Camelot, which is available exclusively from United Oilseeds, to be a popular new variety this year.  " It is from the same stable as Castille and, with a low biomass, early maturity and very high oil content, looks set to become the true Castille successor".

"DK Camelot gives an oil content of 46.6%.  This means that at the current ex-farm price of £364/tonne, every 29 tonne load of DK Camelot that leaves the farm could earn an additional £475 in oil bonuses alone".

But Ms Gibbs warns growers to act quickly to secure supplies.  "This is the first year that DK Camelot has been in full production.  As such, certified seed is in very limited supply.  With demand expected to far outweigh the amount of seed available, growers need to place their orders soon if they want to guarantee a supply in time for the autumn".


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