Our Oilseed Rape harvest began on the 24th July, over 2 weeks later than last year’s extraordinary harvest campaign. This year’s sample has been excellent, both even in maturity and bold – something we put down to allowing the crop to ripen naturally. Typically, our crop also ripens earlier than most crops in the local area and do so very consistently.
It’s been quite clear that the crop benefited from the plentiful rain received in June but with an average yield of 4.2t/ha we were a little disappointed given our previous averages of 5t/ha. However, on closer inspection of our stubbles I had underestimated the damage that CSFB larvae had inflicted on the main stem, and subsequent restrictions to nutrient flow. Given the pressures to the crop I am pleased to have achieved a figure above our averages pre-strip tillage and no doubt had the crop have not gotten off to such a good start the situation could be quite different!
In our trial field which looked at hybrid and conventional varieties, along with different row spacing the trials displayed interesting comparisons once again. The early maturity of the hybrid variety DK Expedient was most evident in the stem at harvest, made more pronounced by not desiccating. Despite this I was surprised to see that the two types only varied in seed moisture by 1% on the same day of combining.
One thing that undoubtedly stands out from previous harvests is the adult CSFB pressure. I’ve heard accounts from around the country of grain stores with more live specimens than seed, and this trend has been evident on our own farm with the content of trailers and grain store a little more ‘mobile’ than I’m used to seeing!
This brings back to the fore – last autumn where the number of crops written off in the local area due to dry seedbeds, combined with CSFB pressure was particularly high. At this time, the Pro-Til one pass system we employed on our farm ensured precious moisture was retained, which when coupled with band placement fertiliser enabled our crop to make it through the vulnerable early stages to provide an even, strong stand.
The corner to corner establishment across our cropping area, meant my winter wasn’t spent chasing pigeons in the cold and rain, and whilst often seen as a nuisance – the real cost of that winter occupation in terms of time, deterrents and loss can be significant. I’m pleased to say we didn’t lose a single acre, which combined with low cost establishment, OSR has remained a profitable break crop on this farm and long may it continue!