Arable News

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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Remarkable discoveries in oilseed rape trials despite tough conditions

In truly awful conditions Agrovistas national Grow Crop Gold trials hold a wealth of discovery about what works to oilseed rape in an extreme season, says the company.

Throughout June, the company will host seven open days at its trial sites – the most northerly is at Brechin and the most southerly at the Royal Agricultural University farm at Cirencester.


The trials will give visitors a remarkable insight into how oilseed rape have been performing based on varied approaches to establishment, seed rates and the use of novel practices such as companion planting.


Recent crop assessments at the sites show some clear differences in crop response depending on the cultivation and sowing method used said Agrovista’s Northern Technical Manager, Chris Martin.


Comparisons of variable sowing rates of between 15 and 60 seeds per square metre demonstrate that very low seed rate crops haven’t performed as well this year as they have previously. “It’s clear that the optimum seed rate for last autumn had to be higher than usual – where 30 seeds per square metre was optimal at the northern sites in autumn 2011, 50 seeds has been needed last year because of the poor soil and weather conditions at drilling.”


He said that of the numerous cultivation techniques compared, those which provided the best seed to soil contact and provided adequate consolidation of the seed bed established a better crop. “Because at some sites we couldn’t get on with the rollers until four to six weeks post drilling, the trials are showing that where good seed to soil contact was achieved at sowing, the crop is looking more advanced and healthier.” He adds that it has also been noticeable how poor September sown crops are compared with those planted in August.


In their more conceptual explorations, the team’s work on companion cropping using clovers and vetches has been “startling” in the marked differences seen in crop vigour and development. Mr Martin wholly expects these plots to be a huge draw on the open days and can see growers starting to adopt the practice more readily.


“Companion cropping is widely used in parts of France where stringent nitrogen legislation limits fertiliser use. Our work at the Grow Crop Gold sites has shown a dramatic crop response where companion plants have been used. In addition, fertiliser savings of more than 40kg/ha have been recorded.”







4 June


Rural Skills Centre, Cirencester, GL7 6NH

Harper Adams

5 June


Tibberton Manor, Tibberton, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 8LZ


6 June

9:30 11.30am       

Morley business Centre, Morley St Botolph, NR18 9DF


20 June


Morley business Centre, Morley St Botolph, NR18 9DF


21 June


Grange Farm, Croft, Darlington


24 June   


Farnell Hall, Farnell, Brechin, Angus, DD9 6UH

Stoughton (meeting only)

26 June


Co-op Farm, Stoughton, Leicestershire


  • Written by: Farmers Guide
  • Posted:
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