Date: 06/2021

Lincolnshire grower Stuart Russell has won the first ever ADAS YEN ‘establishment beauty contest’ for the best looking oilseed rape drilled in 2020 with his crop of DSV Duke hybrid oilseed rape.

Stuart’s crop was selected from nearly 50 crops up and down the country due to it’s excellent establishment of 89% leading to a healthy plant of population of 51 plants/m2.

This was enough not just to win the section for ‘normal’ drilled crops from the 15th to 31st August but also the best establishment of all varieties including in late and early-drilled categories.

Judging was based agronomy, plant population, CSFB adult damage, seedbed quality and level of volunteers.

Photographs were then used for scoring evenness of plant spacing, uniformity of plant size, plant vigour, plant health and absence of weeds. This was then combined with information on % establishment to give an overall score for ‘establishment beauty’.

“The crop has looked great from the very beginning and has done much to restore my faith in oilseed rape really,” Stuart says.

“We’ve always grown the crop but we have been hit hard by cabbage stem flea beetle in recent years and were considering dripping it from the rotation but thought we would give it one more go.

The 6ha of DSV Duke entered into the YEN initiative was drilled on 25th August on medium sandy loam at his Grange Farm, Claxby Pluckacre, with 8.0t/ha of poultry litter applied a couple of weeks beforehand, he recalls.

“It established very quickly and has never looked back really. Some other of our oilseed rape crops suffered a bit with flea beetle damage but not this one.

“It’s kept growing really well with a bit of PGR needed to manage the canopy but we’re not anticipating any problems in the run up to harvest as it scores 8s for both lodging resistance and stem stiffness.

“If it keeps going like this it could produce a record crop for us and we hope it will do well in YEN.

“We chose DSV Duke because of its reputation for autumn vigour and high yield capability plus it’s got a great combination of agronomic features including TuYV protection, pod-shatter resistance and the RLM7 gene for stem canker resistance.

“On paper it looks like the ideal variety for us and this has been more than proven in the field with the autumn and spring performance we have seen.”