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Early maturing OSR offers solution to wet harvest

Date Added: 17/06/2011

Oilseed rape growers worried about the problems associated with wet summers and late harvests should choose an early maturing variety to reduce harvest pressures according to Richard Elsdon, Technical Manager for United Oilseeds, who recommends candidate variety DK Camelot as a solution to late maturity concerns.


“The last three harvests have been severely hampered by excessively wet conditions in many parts of the UK,” Mr Elsdon explains.  “The adverse and often unpredictable weather which has plagued three consecutive harvests has resulted in delayed oilseed rape harvesting for many growers.  As such, the amount of cultivation time available prior to wheat harvesting has been jeopardised, and in the worst cases, oilseed rape harvesting has overlapped with the start of wheat harvesting.”


Mr Elsdon believes that the abundance of later maturing varieties, which are proving popular due to their high yield potential, has exacerbated the situation, with farmers looking for an early maturing variety limited to a small selection of lower performing options.


“Traditionally, Castille has been a popular variety due to its consistency, reliability and earliness,” Mr Elsdon believes.  “However, Castille is starting to wane in popularity as it has been overtaken by many of the more modern, high-performing varieties on the HGCA’s Recommended List.


“DK Camelot, which is from the same stable as Castille, reverses the trend towards later maturity and shares many of the same attributes as the old favourite including a low biomass and early maturity.”


Compared to the top-performing conventional varieties on the HGCA’s Recommended List for the East/West region, DK Camelot has the highest score for earliness of maturity (6) versus Sesame and DK Cabernet (both 4).  DK Camelot also produces a favourable gross output (107%) and a high oil content (46.3%).  In comparison, Sesame and DK Cabernet have gross outputs of 110% and 107% respectively and oil contents of 44.6% and 45.5%.


“Experience tells us that each maturity point equates to three days in real terms,” Mr Elsdon adds.  “DK Camelot’s earliness of maturity score of 6 therefore means that growers should be able to take their oilseed rape six days before DK Cabernet and Sesame with no discernable loss of performance.  However, this time difference could be extended by virtue of fact that DK Camelot can be sown as early as the end of the second week of August.  This would enable the time difference to be stretched to between seven and eight days, and possibly even nine in extreme circumstances.”


In addition, with excellent resistance to lodging (8), solid stem stiffness (7) and a low biomass, DK Camelot can be combined more speedily and using less diesel Mr Elsdon concludes.  “Such a positive set of attributes therefore means that DK Camelot is rapidly gaining a reputation as the natural Castille replacement with modern performance capabilities.”


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