Drilling his crop of winter oilseed rape in less than fair conditions last autumn, and at a lower than normal seed rate, Tim Lamyman believed his crop of Aspire oilseed rape would never reach its full potential. However, it ended up producing an unbelievable gross output of 6.5 t/ha, with 45.4% oil content in the 2019 harvest – only 0.5 t/ha behind his 2018 World Record crop.
“The crop was drilled on the 19th August at 2.5 kg/ha – we had not realised that the seed had been supplied in 2ha packs, and not the standard 3ha packs that we were used to. So of course, this meant that the crop was only drilled at two thirds of the standard seed rate,” Tim explains.
Early establishment was hampered by the dry conditions, resulting in the small oilseed rape plants dying in the combine trails where the volunteer cereals had used up all the moisture.
By mid-October, there were bare patches in the field with very low plant populations and he was not sure if it was worth any further investment in the crop.
However, Mr Lamyman decided to leave the crop in the ground over winter. In the spring, he walked the field with Limagrain’s Arable Technical Manager, Ron Granger, and discussed the value of entering the crop into the Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) competition, in the Yield Potential category. After much discussion, they both agreed they could learn from what had gone wrong. It was also clear to see what could be achieved from working with an average looking crop.
“We decided to enter the crop, and then it was a case of really looking at what it needed in terms of nutrition and pushing it as hard as possible as it came out of the spring.”
In March, the crop received 1 l/ha XStress + 5 l/ha Delta K + 1 l/ha MagSulFlux (magnesium and Sulphur). The results were not spectacular and at the end of March, he was ready to admit defeat, planning to plough the crop up, but he persevered.
In April, the crop had 1 l/ha XStress + 5 l/ha Delta K + 2.5 l/ha TipTop + 0.25 l/ha Toprex. Suddenly the crop started to grow, showing strong plant vigour and was filling in some of the gaps. By May, the crop was really looking to show some potential. It had 1 l/ha XStress + 2.5 l/ha Delta + 0.5 l/ha Rainbow Wave + 0.5 l/ha CalFlux + 0.5 l/ha Amistar. In June, it got another 1 l/ha XStress + 0.5 l/ha Rainbow Wave + 0.5 l/ha CalFlux + 0.25 l/ha Proline.
This was when the variety started to show its true colours, he says. “The crop really took off, and the massive gaps every 7m across the field had completely disappeared; even the double gaps on the headland where the combine had turned.”
“Suddenly, I had an OSR crop that turned into the best looking rape crop on the farm, with unbelievable height and branching right from the base and with fantastic sized pods.”
“I don’t think I have seen a crop recover as well as this has done – and then to produce such an outstanding gross output.” This is an important lesson for growers going into spring who are ready to give up on their struggling oilseed rape crops – the fight is not over, says Ron Granger.