Caution needed with herbicide on oilseed rape

Many farmers are taking the opportunity to plant winter oilseed rape while weather conditions allow this week.

The usual advice is to plant by the middle of September, but soil temperatures are currently high and this is allowing for quick establishment, so taking advantage of these conditions makes sense.

Current soil temperatures are over 2° higher than the average. Soil temperatures for the past seven days (September 7 to 13) show a range of 13.5° to 16.1°, with the majority of soils over 15°.

If you are in a position to get the work done this week, planting oilseed rape will add a break crop to the rotation and divide up workload throughout the year.

Herbicide application

However, if you are planting now and plan on applying a pre-emergence spray it should be applied straightaway after planting. Where immediate application is not possible growers should move to a post-emergence spray programme as crops are establishing extremely quickly.

Applying a pre-emergence herbicide when crops are emerging can seriously harm the plant, so if in doubt do not apply a pre-emergence spray.

This picture (below) sent in from Tim O’Donovan of Seedtech shows an Aquila oilseed rape seed germinating just two days after planting.

Image source: Tim O’Donovan, Seedtech

Growers should consult with their local agronomist on variety choice and a herbicide programme if they plan on drilling in the coming days.