A rape variety with low establishment costs

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If growers are looking for a winter oilseed rape variety with low establishment costs, then George Maule of Acorn seeds in Norfolk thinks they should look no further than the conventional low biomass Mambo from Grainseed.   “In my view Mambo ticks all of the boxes and doesn’t cost a fortune to get into the ground. If you lose half a field of any hybrid variety and you have to pull the crop up, you have lost a lot of money. With Mambo the seed costs are much more competitive and hence losses, if they occur, are much less. With Mambo you are less likely to lose the crop as it is vigorous in the autumn and in the spring,” Mr Maule says.

“Good establishment is essential in oilseed rape. My advice to Norfolk growers of rape is to choose their drilling date, not by the calendar date, but when the seedbed is ready and when moisture is available. This year Mambo is looking particularly well, having been drilled when moisture was available. It has grown away well avoiding pests and diseases early on and is looking good,” he says.

Neil Groom, technical director of Grainseed, adds that growers should not over-simplify vigour as this is a characteristic of the individual variety, not the variety type. “In other words, not all hybrids are vigorous whilst some conventionals are very vigorous. Vigour is something that varies tremendously from variety to variety and some conventional rape varieties are even more vigorous than hybrid varieties. It is a message that we have been sending out to the marketplace for a few years now. We advise looking at the individual variety itself, not just whether it is a conventional or a hybrid.”

Mr Maule reminds growers that the conventional winter rape variety Mambo has excellent autumn vigour with strong standing power and lodging resistance. “Mambo grows away strongly in the autumn giving growers the best chance of the crop outgrowing cabbage stem flea beetle, slugs and Phoma stem canker. In Norfolk admittedly we have less of a Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle issue than the

heavier lands to the West, as we have a shorter history of growing this crop. But you still need the crop to establish well and grow away rapidly from disease, which it has done this year.”

Grainseed technical director Neil Groom

Mr Groom says that Mambo has one of the highest combined disease resistance ratings, “Varietal resistance in rape is. In my view, an underrated benefit. Mambo has one of the highest Phoma resistance rating of 7.8, which is multigene, it also has one of the highest ratings for Light leaf spot of 6.4 and it is also resistant to Verticillium. Planting a tolerant variety is an important way to minimise Verticillium, as we have no approved chemicals to control this soil-borne disease. For Phoma good resistance gives you more thinking time and you may be able to save on a spray. You may be able to avoid the damaging canker phase,” he says.

Mambo is a conventional low biomass winter rape variety.  “It has exceptional autumn vigour which, without the availability of neonicotinoid seed treatments is essential. This vigour helps the crop grow away from pests and diseases.”

standing power (a rating of 9 for resistance to lodging and an 8 for stem stiffness) and its low biomass helps with combining by reducing the volume of material to cut. Such a variety will save on combining costs and time,” he says.

Rapid establishment and early autumn vigour are fundamental to producing a good crop of rape. George concludes that Mambo is virtually bomb proof, being a conventional variety with excellent vigour, with competitive seed costs, robust all- round disease resistance profile and low biomass which is important on the fen soils. “And, of course, it performs well, producing excellent yields on many farms and in contrasting years. Plus, it has a high oil content of 46%,”  he concludes.

 

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About Author

Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is an avid follower of Stoke City.