Strong yields and decent commodity prices may see an increase in OSR plantings this season, reversing several years of decline.
Loss of neonicotinoids, poor commodity pricing and crop losses due to flea beetle have all take their toll. Growing OSR too frequently has also increased disease pressure, so many growers have decided to reduce the frequency of the crop in rotations.
The overall area has reduced from about 750,000ha in 2013 to 550,000ha hectares in 2016. Indications are that it could grow to a more sustainable break crop level of closer to 600,000ha.
Specialist oils, HOLL and HEAR are set to remain reasonably stable, while Clearfield types look to increase slightly.
Trials results have been hard to come by, due to the stop-start harvest. However, with the few that have been verified, established RAGT varieties RGT Alizze and RGT Windozz have performed well once again, matching the excellent yields growers have seen on farm.
RGT Windozz, available through Gleadell, Geoff Williams and United Oilseeds, has been one of the top performers in 2017 on farm and in trial, moving up the rankings to joint top on the AHDB Recommended List (East/West) four-year average for treated gross output. The variety offers vigour, yield consistency, earliness and a decent disease profile.
“High gross output potential, coupled with excellent autumn and spring vigour and early maturity, first attracted me to the variety,” says Chris Guest, seed manager at Gleadell.
“RGT Windozz has been an extremely consistent variety over the past three years of trials, and it has performed very well in trials so far this year. We have also had excellent reports from farm, not just at harvest but throughout the season."
“It would not be a surprise to see it at the top of the Recommended List next year.”
RGT Alizze offers yields just behind RGT Windozz in this year’s results along with the vigour as well as very strong light leaf spot resistance. It maintains its four-year performance on the Recommended List as one of the top varieties after another challenging season, and was the top-performing variety in Openfield’s private trials in Yorkshire.