Thursday, 18 November 2010

Ukraine autumn agronomy report – oilseed rape

It’s been one hell of a season so far for these poor little guys, drilled in to bone dry seed beds with no rain for a month and then enough to get the volunteer wheat up and over their heads. Can things get better?

In my honest opinion yes.

As is often the case oilseed rape splits in to two factions.

There are a lot of crops about that obviously got enough rain at the right time and got up and way with 100% emergence.

The Ukrainian way is to sow too many seeds anyway and when they all come up it is way too thick. However if you talk to the agronomist he will be cock-a-hoop at his lush, thick crop and wont believe me when I tell him the yield will be down as a result.

Then there are the crops that missed any rain in September and had to wait until mid October before they got going.

Emergence is patchy but even at 30 to 50 ppm2 these crops still have the potential to yield well. The question is will they be big enough to make it through the winter? At 4 to 5 true leaves they should be ok although the smaller plants will be at risk.

Weed control has generally been good but residual herbicides applied in the dry have obviously been less effective than they should be. Coupled with smaller plants and a patchy emergence I think we might have to rely on desiccants to help with the harvest.

Volunteer wheat is a problem and many crops will have taken a yield hit even though a graminicide has been applied.

Disease levels are low, no sign of phoma or light leaf spot although I did apply half rate tebuconazole both for disease and to make the plants hardier.

No insect damage even though I mixed home saved seed which wasn’t dressed, something I will do more of in the future because it works and saves money.

There are a number of stem boring insects that migrate in to the plants at this time of the year although you often don’t spot them until stem extension in the spring. A pyrethroid in with the autumn fungicide is a good bet here.

Summary as oilseed rape goes in to the winter – fair to good.