Tillage Newsletter - August 2022
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In this month's edition:
The area of winter oilseed rape increased significantly by 44% in 2022. Many growers are now seeing the benefits of including it in the farm crop rotation, as it is an ideal break from cereal rotations and is a good entry for first wheats. Other benefits include spreading the workload, soil structure improvement, and it can be used to control difficult grass weeds. Again in 2022, many growers were able to reduce the amount of nitrogen (N) required to grow the crop. This was a significant saving this year given the costs of fertilisers. Early drilling is essential for growing oilseed rape. August-drilled crops generally perform better than September-drilled ones and it may be easier to prevent pigeon grazing of large canopies, which in turn will reduce the amount of N needed. The following tips are a useful guide when growing oilseed rape crops.
Sowing date: mid August to early September, ideally before September 10; however, seedbed quality, i.e., fine and firm, is as important as the sowing date.
Variety: the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) Recommended Winter Oilseed Rape (WOSR) list is the best source of information on the main varieties. Conventional varieties or hybrids can be sown in August but in September, you should only use hybrids. Look for varieties with good traits such as light leaf spot resistance and pod shatter resistance.
Seeding rate: sow 60-80 seeds/m2 to establish 30-50 plants/m2 in the spring. Varietal differences in vigour and thousand seed weight, along with seedbed condition and sowing date must be accounted for. Poor seedbed and late sowing will need higher (10%) seeding rates.