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OSR pod abortion worries a storm in a teacup

Date Added: 06/05/2011

A recent survey carried out by United Oilseeds has shown that last season’s concerns about pod abortion in some plantings of DK Cabernet were largely unfounded and that the variety produced higher final yields than most other varieties.

A randomly selected sample of 38 DK Cabernet growers in the HGCA’s East/West region were interviewed and asked to rate the performance of DK Cabernet against the other varieties grown on their farms during the 2010 season.

 

The respondents grew a total of 7,146 acres of oilseed rape in 2010.  Almost half of this (47%) was DK Cabernet.  The survey indicated that DK Cabernet produced an average yield of 1.61 t/acre (3.98 t/ha) compared to an average whole farm yield of 1.57 t/acre (3.87 t/ha).  The highest DK Cabernet yield recorded was 2.20 t/acre (5.47 t/ha).

 

Respondents were also asked to rate the performance of DK Cabernet against their expectations for the variety, with 84% indicating that the variety performed as well as or better than expected.  Even on farms where DK Cabernet performed worse than anticipated, it still out-yielded other varieties with DK Cabernet averaging 1.44 t/acre (3.56 t/ha) compared to a whole farm average of 1.43 t/acre (3.53 t/ha).

 

The survey highlighted that several of the growers interviewed had concerns about DK Cabernet last year, but that those concerns were mitigated at harvest when final yields were analysed.  One grower in Gloucestershire expressed worries about DK Cabernet struggling to cope with last year’s frosty spring conditions but reported that his crop went on to develop a lot of side branches and delivered an excellent final yield.  Other growers reported DK Cabernet performing particularly well on heavier ground despite crops looking fairly average during the growing season.

 

For the 2011 season, the total area of oilseed rape being grown by those questioned remains virtually unchanged at 7,178 acres, over half of which (53%) is DK Cabernet.

 

Commenting on the survey results, Beckii Gibbs, seed manager for United Oilseeds said:

“Whilst some sceptics still believe that DK Cabernet is particularly prone to pod abortion problems, the widespread crop stress we are experiencing in the field this spring shows how hard hit many of the higher performance varieties are.  We have the confidence in the final yield figures from harvest 2010 to show that DK Cabernet has proven its ability to compensate when the conditions improve.

 

“The majority of growers surveyed reported that DK Cabernet yielded at least as well as their other varieties and in most cases produced a higher final harvest yield.  As a result, 61% of the growers interviewed are growing more DK Cabernet this year compared to last year.  The total area planted to DK Cabernet has therefore increased by more than 13% this year with farmers remaining confident that it offers the best opportunity for them to achieve better harvest results.”

DK Cabernet 2010 Performance Study

A random telephone survey was carried out by United Oilseeds to assess the performance of the DeKalb variety, DK Cabernet. 

 

Background:

DK Cabernet is a conventionally bred hybrid with a treated gross output of 107% for the HGCA’s East/West region (HGCA RL 2011/12).

 

Whilst some sceptics still believe that DK Cabernet suffers from pod abortion and low real-world yields, evidence suggests that these claims are unfounded and that DK Cabernet continues to deliver consistently high yields and in doing remains the UK’s number one pure-line variety.

 

Sample:

§  38 randomly selected growers were interviewed in the HGCA’s East/West region – from Somerset in the South West to North Yorkshire and Cleveland in the North.

 

2010 Acreage:

§  Total area of OSR sown in 2010:                            7,146 acres

§  Almost half of this (47%) was DK Cabernet:                        3,348 acres

 

2010 Yields:

§  Average whole farm yield:                                      1.57 t/ac (3.87 t/ha)

§  Average DK Cabernet yield:                                   1.61 t/ac (3.98 t/ha)

§  Maximum DK Cabernet yield:                                 2.20 t/ac (5.47 t/ha)

 

§  37% of growers saw DK Cabernet perform better than expected:

-   DK Cabernet yield:        1.68 t/ac (4.15 t/ha)

-   Whole farm average:     1.57 t/ac (3.88 t/ha)

 

§  47% of growers saw DK Cabernet perform as expected:

-   DK Cabernet yields were identical to whole farm average at 1.62 t/ac (4.00 t/ha)

 

§  16% of growers saw DK Cabernet perform worse than expected:

-   DK Cabernet yield:        1.44 t/ac (3.56 t/ha)

-   Whole farm average:     1.43 t/ac (3.53 t/ha)

 

Grower concerns:

§  63% of growers had no real concerns about DK Cabernet last year:

-   DK Cabernet yield:        1.64 t/ac (4.05 t/ha)

-   Whole farm average:     1.59 t/ac (3.93 t/ha)

 

§  37% of growers expressed a concern about the performance of their DK Cabernet whilst it was growing.  Despite this, DK Cabernet still out-performed other varieties:

-   DK Cabernet yield:        1.56 t/ac (3.85 t/ha)

-   Whole farm average:     1.54 t/ac (3.80 t/ha)

 

2011 Acreage:

§  Total area of OSR sown in 2011:                            7,178 acres

§  Over half of this (53%) is DK Cabernet:                  3,794 acres

 

Changing Acreage:

§  The total amount of OSR being grown remains virtually identical.

§  61% of growers are growing more DK Cabernet than last year. Only 24% are growing less.

§  DK Cabernet area increased by 13.3% in 2011 compared to 2010

 

Grower comments:

Gloucestershire:

“DK Cabernet struggled during last year’s frosty spring conditions but subsequently developed a lot of side branches and delivered an excellent final yield.”

 

Wiltshire:

“We were worried about the level of frost damage but final yields were fantastic despite the crop looking fairly average.”

 

Cleveland:

“DK Cabernet has performed exceptionally well for us, particularly on our heavier ground.”

 

Conclusions:

§  DK Cabernet delivered higher than average yields on the majority of farms. 

§  Even on farms where DK Cabernet performed worse than expected, it still out-performed other varieties.

§  Despite the total area of OSR being grown remaining virtually identical, the growers surveyed have chosen to increase their DK Cabernet plantings by more than 13%.

§  Although some farmers expressed concerns about their crops prior to harvest, the majority of growers reported higher than average final yields.

 

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