Tillage management: Oilseed rape planting to move into full swing

The early harvest this season makes it an ideal year for planting winter oilseed rape. The crop – which may not have yielded it’s best in some parts this season – is liked by a consistent group of farmers.

Oilseed rape acts as a great break crop, particularly in a rotation with winter cereals. It also gives growers access to different price markets; taking some of the risk out of the rotation.

Early sowing is vital, but planting can be carried out right into the first week of September.

A good seedbed is key to the crop’s success and the dry weather is providing ample opportunity to create that fine seedbed.

Whether the ground is ploughed or min-tilled, the seedbed should be fine and uniform in order to achieve uniform establishment of the crop.

Seed rate

Seed rate is the next thing to watch. If the aim is to establish 40-50 plants/m² then the seed rate should be optimised to reach this level.

Where seeds are being planted into a good seedbed then the rate should reflect this.

The biggest challenge at sowing will be to get the seed rate right. Different seed will flow at varying rates and accurate calibration of the drill is essential.

Varieties

There are plenty of oilseed rape varieties out there to choose from. Growers should look at how these varieties perform on yield and disease scores. Crop height is also an important one.

Where growers have a problem with cruciferous weeds in their rotation, Clearfield varieties are available this season.

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