Forecasted August rainfall could provide an opportunity for oilseed rape establishment, according to the latest advice from Limagrain. Charlotte Cunningham reports. 

One of the key drivers in the decision to drill OSR for rapid and consistent emergence in order to avoid adult CSFB grazing is adequate moisture in the seedbed.

With the recent and forecasted unsettled weather into early Aug, bringing rainfall to many parts of the country, soils are wetter than they have been for a few seasons, providing the much needed opportunity for OSR establishment.

“Lack of moisture in the seedbed has been a dominant factor affecting establishment in the past two seasons, as where seed was planted into dry and dusty seed beds, germination and subsequent crop emergence was slow and erratic,” says Liam Wilkinson, arable development officer for breeders Limagrain UK.

“OSR seeds harbour less energy stores than other species, so ensuring plants can establish roots quickly and that those roots then have access to moisture and nutrition is key for strong autumn establishment and vigour.

Worth considering

Current favourable soil conditions and an early harvest in some areas, will mean that many growers who have been undecided about growing OSR this autumn, may now be considering putting the crop in, he adds.

“While these current conditions offer an opportunity for the crop to establish – it’s still very early to consider drilling rape. It’s worth remembering the pro’s and con’s of this drilling time as while early drilled crops, if well-established, can better withstand attack from adult CSFB, it makes them more vulnerable to larval damage – meaning that drilling early for flea beetle may not be the way to go.”