With reduced availability of treatments for common pests such as cabbage stem flea beetle, it will be essential to produce a strong and resilient crop with well-timed sowing and careful seedbed preparation.
Because rapeseed is such a fine seed, you need an equally fine seedbed to ensure seed-to-soil contact, but you can’t go overboard with your tillage, as root development requires access to air and water.
Providing optimal nutrition early in plant establishment should not be overlooked.
Diammonium phosphate (DAP) or ammonium nitrate are usually the fertilizer of choice, but because they release nutrients quickly, they can lead to the production of soft green tissues that attract pests that are no longer easily treated.
Instead, I recommend using a dedicated starter fertilizer, such as PinKstart, which is designed to encourage crop establishment and improve early growth. PinKstart is formulated to have the same critical mass as rapeseed, so it is applied mixed with the seed at sowing.
It contains immediately available P&K, as well as Physio+, an algae-based cytokinin, which increases the absorption of key nutrients such as calcium, zinc, nitrogen and trace elements. All of this helps ensure even establishment and gives the plant the strong taproot it needs to succeed.
Farmers need to take advantage of low cost inputs and note that rapeseed is incredibly sensitive to farmyard manure and other organic matter.
Now is the time to think ahead when it comes to organic matter to get the most out of nutrients.
Alternatively, use a phosphate source that will provide phosphate nutrition throughout the growing season: the seed needs some phosphate, but the main demand occurs in the spring when it begins to flower.
With good nutrition, rapeseed seems to be a lucrative crop for the coming season.
David Harrod is Agricultural Business Manager at Timac Agro UK