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Trials highlight ‘less risky’ oilseed rape varieties

News - 21.06.23

On-farm trials have emerged as the cornerstone for identifying incremental changes that lead to enhanced performance.

Peter Cartwright, farms manager of Revesby Estate, shares insights gained from a decade of trials that span establishment techniques, varieties, fertiliser practices, and seed rates. The journey reveals valuable lessons and a strategic roadmap for navigating challenges in modern farming.

The Gradual Shift to Direct Drilling: A 95% Transformation

Ten years of trials at Revesby Estate reflect a gradual shift from an intensive plough-based system to 95% direct drilling. Driven by the need to cut establishment costs and combat black-grass, this transition has not only boosted average wheat yields by 1 t/ha but also improved soil workability.

The evolution in machinery and labour requirements stands as a testament to the success of this transformative journey.

Peter Cartwright Farm Manager at Revesby Estate

Revesby Estate Farms Manager Peter Cartwright

Dynamic Rotation Adjustments: Adapting to Weed Challenges

As the estate aligns with changing policies and addresses emerging challenges like cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) and winter stem weevil, the rotation undergoes strategic adjustments. A reduction in oilseed rape area, introduction of winter barley, and meticulous adoption of Agrii’s eight-point plan for establishment prove effective. The rotation overhaul not only safeguards against pests but also optimizes harvest workload.

Optimising Inputs: From Variable Seed Rates to Nitrogen Management

Trials explore various techniques, from variable seed rates for cereals to nitrogen rate optimisations. While some experiments, like strip-tilled sugar beet, prove less effective, others provide valuable insights.

Variable seed rates offer benefits in blackgrass control but underscore the significance of variety choice. Nitrogen rate adjustments, especially for oilseed rape, prove beneficial based on crop characteristics and green area index.

Looking to the Future: Sharing Insights and Embracing Change

Revesby Estate, a dynamic forum for Agrii's Lincolnshire team, continually evolves, serving as a learning hub for those navigating similar transitions. The journey underscores the importance of adaptability and knowledge-sharing in an ever-changing agricultural landscape. As challenges persist, the estate remains committed to embracing change and ensuring sustainable, efficient farming practices.

OSR Variety Trials at Revesby Estate: Navigating CSFB and Winter Stem Weevil Challenges

In a comprehensive oilseed rape (OSR) variety trial at Revesby Estate, Agrii delves into the impacts of cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) and winter stem weevil. The trial spans 45 varieties, shedding light on those capable of withstanding severe attacks. David Leaper, Agrii oilseed rape technical manager, provides insights into varieties with strong spring growth habits that prove resilient against pests.

Agrii’S 45 Variety Oilseed Rape Trial At Revesby Estate Has Highlighted Which Varieties Are Better Able To Cope With CSFB Damage

Varietal Resilience: A Valuable Insight for Growers

The trial showcases notable damage variations between varieties, emphasizing the importance of choosing 'lower-risk' options. With detailed larval counts and assessments, Agrii identifies hybrids like RGT Kanzzas and InV1035, along with Clearfield variety InV1266CL, displaying resilience to pest damage.

A holistic approach, including drilling practices and companion crops, contributes to reduced CSFB and weevil impact.

David Leaper, Agrii Oilseed Rape Technical Manager

David Leaper, Agrii Oilseed Rape Technical Manager

Integrated Measures for Sustainable Pest Management

As CSFB and winter stem weevil continue to pose threats, the trial underscores the significance of growth habits in minimizing damage. However, it emphasizes that growth habit alone is insufficient—integrated measures, including drilling practices, autumn nutrition, and companion crops, are crucial for effective pest management.

The journey at Revesby Estate reaffirms the need for growers to adapt and implement holistic strategies for sustained success.

CSFB + Stem Weevil Larvae Visual Damage | Revesby Estate 2023

Source: Single Site (Revesby Estate, Lincs) assessed in Mid April (3 replicates). 

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