Arable News

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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Surveys suggest Clearfield could take 15 per cent of 2017 OSR area

Views on the value of Clearfield herbicide tolerant technology have been sought from farmers and agronomists in two surveys conducted by BASF.

“According to the 47 independent agronomists interviewed, 11% of the rape area harvested in 2016 was sown to Clearfield varieties and that they expect the area to increase to 15% for harvest 2017,” explains Matthew Goodson of BASF. 

Over 34% of agronomists went on to confirm that they would definitely be recommending Clearfield for harvest 2017, with a further 21% saying they will probably recommend it.

In the farmer survey, 64 growers were questioned, they confirmed that 14% of the seed for this year’s planting will be Clearfield.

The farmers were also quizzed about their wider plans for seed sourcing this year; 25% said they were planning to home save their seed, up from 19% of growers in the previous year.

The farmer survey results also suggest that hybrids could make up 72% of the rape area to be sown this autumn, which includes 14% sown to Clearfield, 11% to HOLL varieties and 7% to HEAR varieties,” Mr Goodson adds.

Farmers said that they had ordered seed by the end of July. The survey indicated that the most popular rape varieties would be Elgar (27% of mentions), DK Extrovert (14%) which was the most widely grown variety last year, HEAR varieties Eraton (11% of respondents), Palmedor (also HEAR at 11%) and Campus (5%).

Both surveys also suggested that the widely predicted decrease in rape area may not be the case.

“Farmers indicated no change in the area they intended to plant this autumn; 48% of growers said they were likely to increase their oilseed rape planting, whilst 36% said they would be reducing their area,” Mr Goodson says.

The survey’s general consensus of opinion is that rape is a good fit for their rotations, it continues to be a good break crop and that its prospects are improving. However, there were continued issues cited, including damage from flea beetle, pigeons, profitability and disappointing black-grass control.

In the agronomist survey there was an expectation of a small (1%) reduction in winter oilseed rape area overall.

The agronomists were also concerned about black-grass control across the rotation; 55% of independent agronomists said that the level of black-grass control in this year’s cereal crops was much worse than last year, with 30% saying it was slightly worse. Consequently 64% of them are expecting very high black-grass weed pressure this year.

Clearfield technology is based on conventional plant breeding techniques to create varieties that are tolerant to the Clearfield herbicides: Cleranda (imazamox and metazachlor) and Cleravo (imazamox and quinmerac). 

“Clearfield is regarded as a useful management tool to allow growers to retain or return oilseed rape back into the rotation if charlock and runch have been problem weeds,” advises Mr Goodson. “Treatment of a non-Clearfield crop with a Clearfield herbicide will result in complete crop loss, so careful management and record-keeping is vital. Clearfield volunteers can be easily controlled in following crops such as wheat through standard cultural and chemical means.”   

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
  • Posted:
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