In difficult market conditions, maximising gross output is more important than ever. However, Sarah Middleton, campaign manager for the InVigor brand, says that growers may be missing a trick in getting the most from their oilseed rape, focusing too much on seed yield, where more reliable returns can be found in oil content.
“The amount a variety yields will vary between sites and years and is influenced greatly by in-season conditions, making it very unpredictable and difficult to control,” she says. “In contrast, oil content is a heritable trait, known to be relatively consistent compared to seed yield. Therefore, when trying to maximise gross output, there is greater security in choosing a variety with high oil content, rather than one with a theoretically high seed yield.”
Recent analysis of data from the AHDB’s Recommended List system by NIABTAG found TuYV resistant variety Annalise and InVigor 1030 (InV1030) to have the highest oil content (average of 47.1%) compared to 32 other varieties in the AHDB’s Recommended List system, the majority of which had oil values ranging from 45 – 46%.
“While a couple of percent difference may seem small, it can have a significant impact on oil bonus”, says Sarah. She explains, “A typical grower could expect an extra £2,268 in oil bonuses from the crop when growing InV1030, compared to a leading variety on the Recommended List with 44.8% oil content*.
“There will always be some variability in oil content, but it is fractional compared to seed yield. The work from NIABTAG shows that even the low point (46.2%) for InV1030 was above the mean for most other varieties. Therefore even in the most challenging conditions, InV1030 would provide a better oil bonus than other varieties in average conditions.”
Sarah concludes: “Enhancing seed yield might seem an attractive way to maximise gross output and returns. However, there are clear risks involved in focusing too much on seed yield, which can be irregular and inconsistent. Selecting a high yielding hybrid with the highest oil content available is a strategy that will reduce risk and help maximise the potential return from oilseed rape.”