February 14, 2013
Agrii on Quartz
Agrii seed manager, Barry Barker reckons that Quartz has come to the market at just the right time. “Conventional oilseed rape growers are looking for a variety to support DK Cabernet and Quartz’s higher yield performance and solid disease package fits this bill,” he says.
“It has appeal for growers principally in eastern England but also the West Midlands and south where stem canker and closer rotations are becoming more of an issue.
“Around half of all growers are now growing oilseed rape one year in every three, so good stem canker resistance is increasingly important to reduce disease risks.
“Quartz has no particular weaknesses at all and has just caught the imagination at a time when Castille has fallen away. We expect Quartz will be our biggest selling conventional next autumn.”
Mr Barker’s colleague, Philip Marr has been following Quartz in trial and reckons that its consistency in yield sets it apart from others. “It seems fairly robust, offering stable, reliable yields over different seasons,” he says.
He points out that conditions this season mean that many growers should expect to see severe stem canker in crops this summer. This will bring into focus the fact that yield is not always king and that a variety with a 9-rating for the disease is a major plus.
“Last year we had big biomass going into winter and then the spring and may have got away with it. This year leaf petioles are often less than 2cm in length on plants that have suffered in waterlogged soils and this, combined with an inability to get out and spray means that the phoma infection will no doubt show itself in due course.
“This is where Quartz fits in nicely and is a major plus. If phoma does get into the plant the variety’s ability to hold it at bay gives you a chance to get on and spray. In addition, Quartz also has a very fast leaf development rate in the autumn – growing away well, similar to Expower, and this strong vegetative growth, which has also been seen on farm this year, will also stimulate rooting.”
While slow to grow away in spring, Philip Marr says that Quartz goes crazy at stem extension. “Last year we were seeing up to 78cm growth a day, but it is not late or tall, which Cabernet can be,” says Mr Marr.
“Given a good year I’d not be surprised to see its acreage creep further north next autumn replacing some Cabernet or some of the taller hybrids as a result of its medium height,” he suggests.