UK arable farmers know more about managing volatility than most.
Unpredictable global weather patterns, currency fluctuations and ever-changing regulations are just three areas every farming business will either have benefited or suffered from in the past five years alone.
Abnormal is the new normal and the most progressive growers are taking a long-term view when it comes to cropping decisions.
Planting winter oilseed rape is a case in point.
Last year the drought affected crops across the UK and Europe’s major oilseed-growing countries.
The withdrawal of products containing neonicotinoids, compounded by dry seed beds last autumn, have facilitated high levels of cabbage stem flea beetle damage in some areas of the country this season.
But negative headlines mustn’t cast a shadow over the reality of the situation. There are plenty of healthy winter oilseed rape crops on view this spring.
The financial and agronomic benefits of growing the crop remain strong and with the crop protection and seed innovations from Corteva Agriscience, the case for growing winter oilseed rape remains strong.
The importance of OSR in the rotation
Profit will always be a key driver but the crop’s contribution to soil health and the environment cannot be overlooked.
Its deep tap root improves soil tilth and, coupled with the benefit of an earlier harvest, makes the crop a good precursor to first wheat.
A high proportion of rape crops are established using either direct drilling or minimum tillage techniques. This reduced tillage offers soil health benefits, such as benefitting earthworm populations.
The opportunity to control grassweeds should not be forgotten, and rape can help break disease lifecycles. Not all alternative crops have this ability.
Corteva’s commitment to innovation
Corteva remains heavily invested in oilseed and with the products it has on the market and in the pipeline growers have much to be enthusiastic about.
The launch of Belkar at Cereals this June will pave the way for a shift in oilseed rape herbicide strategies to help growers mitigate some of the risks associated with establishment.
For decades growers have invested heavily in residual products to protect their crop before they know what is going to come out of the ground.
With Belkar they are able to see a crop establish and know exactly the spectrum of weeds present.
Targeting key weeds including cleavers, poppy, shepherd’s purse, fumitory and cranesbill, Belkar helps lower some of the early risks associated with crop establishment.
The new product contains Arylex Active formulated with picloram, known to growers from Galera.
Corteva’s oilseed rape herbicide specialist Iuliia Kovelova said: “Growers will be nervous about investing money in herbicides only to see cabbage stem flea beetle and slugs damaging a crop’s potential.
“With Belkar they have the flexibility to wait and see how establishment goes before deciding on their broad-leaved weed control investment and strategy.
“Approved for use from the beginning of September through to the end of December, Belkar offers a range of rates and timing strategies giving growers flexibility to manage their weed control budgets and their workloads more appropriately, whilst still ensuring robust control of key problem weeds.”
Corteva’s seed offering includes two hybrids from Pioneer which made the 2019/20 AHDB Recommended List.
PT275 is the first double low hybrid from the Pioneer pipeline to reach the top level of the East/West table since PR46W21 which enjoyed enormous popularity among UK growers.
With a published yield of 104% – the joint highest – the non-dwarf variety gets a 6 for light leaf spot and a 5 for stem canker.
With a UK listing, PT279CL is the first Clearfield variety ever to make the Recommended List and is the highest-yielding Clearfield variety ever to achieve either official registration in the UK or to be tested by the AHDB.