Many oilseed rape crops that were little more than small bare stems in March and April, have recovered quickly in the spring sunshine. But the damaging effects of heavy pigeon grazing and chilling easterly winds has set crops back badly, so any efforts to maintain the small green leaf area for longer will pay dividends this season, advises Syngenta Field Technical Manager, Simon Roberts.
Speaking at a meeting of oilseed rape growers in the Cotswolds recently, he highlighted that while yield potential had clearly been significantly reduced by the winter conditions and damage, most plants on recovering crops were branching out surprisingly well and still had the chance to set a good number of pods.
However, with the relatively small leaf area it could prove hard for plants to capture sufficient sunlight to complete seed pod fill and produce the required oil content, he warned. We have repeatedly seen that Amistar treatment through the flowering period has resulted in improved green leaf retention and higher yields, even in the absence of disease.
Mr Roberts advocated Amistar treatment at early flowering, and repeated three weeks later would be the most effective timings to protect against disease and enhance the plant vigour. These treatments would ensure the optimum application timing for individual plants at the highly variable growth stages seen in many fields this spring, he added.
With the small leaf area, the green stem and pods could play an even more important role in driving up oilseed rape yields this summer. The early crop damage has created a very open crop architecture in many fields, which will mean that all the lower leaves and stems will be able to intercept sunlight and capture energy for the plant, he said. Well timed Amistar applications will help them to get the best possible efficiency from the available green area.
Further agronomic tips and advice to manage oilseed rape crops are available on the Syngenta website, Driving Up Oilseed Rape Yields – along with growers experiences and details of how they are managing their crops this season.