In a year that has been plagued with challenges, it is no surprise that many oilseed rape growers are ready to throw the towel in and take a break from the crop. However, for those willing stick with it, biostimulants could provide a much-needed solution to give crops that extra boost during establishment.
For many growers, autumn drilling presents an exciting opportunity for a fresh start in the farming calendar – the planting of a new seed full of potential. But in reality, it’s potential that could become easily eroded by poor establishment, crop stress, and pest or weed competition.
For oilseed rape growers, this period is particularly important, and getting it right could be the deciding factor in whether or not a crop goes on to yield 5t/ha or more. “The rape seed itself only has sufficient nutrients and energy to grow a small root system before having to rely on nutrients from the soil,” explains Stuart Sutherland, technical manager at Interagro. “If the nutrients aren’t there, this is when issues arise, making crops more susceptible to disease and weed pressures.”
To help plants at this critical stage, Interagro’s biostimulant Bridgeway has proven to promote faster establishment and better tolerance to environmental stress factors. “Using Bridgeway as part of the programme from two true leaves can be a useful insurance to promote plant establishment in the Autumn,” adds Stuart. “It can help plants move away from early cabbage stem flea beetle pressure, while greater tolerance and higher metabolic efficiency offer resilience to the effects of environmental stress and crop protection product application.”
Independent research at the University of Nottingham in 2019 showed that Bridgeway significantly increases root and corresponding shoot growth in oilseed rape.
Pathologist Dr Steve Rossall designed tests to investigate the effect of Bridgeway on early root growth. Treatments were applied at two true leaves (GS12) and assessed 30 days later. Bridgeway at 1 litre/ha increased root growth by 82% over untreated control plants and was statistically significant at 95% confidence limits. Bridgeway at 2 litres/ha increased rooting even further, by 112% over the untreated.
This increase was statistically significant over both the untreated and lower rate application. Increased rooting also led to corresponding increases in shoot growth of 27% at 1 litre/ha and 43% at 2 litres/ha which were statistically significant at 95% confidence limits.
Dr Rossall adds: “The data suggests that growers are almost certain to get a benefit with Bridgeway every year and will see a real benefit in stress years, particularly where crops are short of water in the establishment phase.”
For more information on the benefits of Bridgeway in oilseed rape and to download a copy of the Autumn Bridgeway guide, visit: https://bit.ly/2H7gCSW