Oilseed rape seeds need to take up 40% of their own weight in moisture before germination begins. There is then a second moisture requirement to allow the seed to produce an embryonic root.
“From a practical perspective, this means crops need to go into moist seedbeds and have more moisture on the way,” says ProCam technical development manager Rob Adamson. “Drilling before this is unlikely to be successful.”
Delaying drilling until there is sufficient soil moisture will increase the need for good seedling vigour, adds Mr Adamson. In these situations, hybrid rape varieties can prove their worth.
“Hybrid vigour can help to mitigate the delayed start. The improved growth rate of hybrids means they can still reach a size where they stand a chance against cabbage stem flea beetles when the migration begins.”
Biostimulants can further encourage rapid growth of a crop drilled later into sufficient
moisture can also aid successful establishment. With seed and foliar-applied biostimulants available, these treatments can be a worthwhile investment
“While insecticides face resistance, it is possible to reduce the effect of adult cabbage stem flea beetle by ensuring the crop’s growth rate exceeds the feeding rate of the adult pest.” says Mr Adamson.
“Maximising this growth rate is critical whether growing conventional or hybrid varieties. But the vigour of hybrid varieties can potentially be used as an extra method to maximise growth when time is of the essence.”
As well as income from the crop, Mr Adamson says the benefits of rape for maximising first wheats in the rotation can also not be ignored. But rushing to drill the crop before adequate moisture could result in disappointment.