Thevariable nature of oilseed rape crops across the country has highlighted the riskof pod shatter losses and prompted advisers to suggest use of a suitable podsealant.
Accordingto Pro Cam agronomist Steve Wolff a suitable pod sealant such as Mesh orPod-Stik is a no-brainer this harvest it is has been shown to protect cropsfrom the effects of pod shatter caused by unfavourable weather in the weeksbuilding up to harvest and from header losses at the point of combining.
In recentyears it has been acceptable to apply Pod-Stik with the desiccant, but becauseof the variability of crops this year we are advising growers to make separateapplications. When asked if it is a necessary application I reply in a mostaffirmative manner: Its a complete no-brainer, he says.
Withcrops at varying stages of maturity following an extended flowering period as aresult of the difficult season, he worries that growers will unknowingly exposethemselves to the risk of excessive losses which could be easily and cheaplyavoided.
Itis important to recognise that both Mesh and Pod-Stik are effective for up to 12weeks so there is a large window of protection for growers to fall back on.Where crop variability extends beyond a week our advice is to treat the areathat is further ahead first and return to the backward plants later. But wherevariability can be described as less than a week wait until the majority of thecrop is growth stage 80-82 and apply across the whole area.
DeSangosse commercial manager Simon McMunn says that Pod-Stik gives a return oninvestment well beyond that of most products.
Podsealers typically give a benefit where used, but not all pod sealers deliverthe same performance. In independent trials performed in 2010 and 2011 the bestperforming pod sealer gave a yield benefit of 0.5t/ha over glyphosate only(control) and 0.2-0.3t/ha over the next best performing pod sealer, says MrMcMunn.
Weatherevents after crops have been desiccated have the greatest influence indetermining the value of a pod sealer in protecting yield, but with oilseedrape prices for November 2013 trading at about 340/t the economic benefit of apod sealer is clear.
Agrower enjoying a similar result to that seen in trials would see an extra170/ha in output. Pod-Stik is available on farm for about 10/ha, giving areturn on investment of 17:1 at current market prices, he says.