Current market conditions and a wide choice of varieties are causing many to consider including oilseed rape in the rotation for autumn 2022.

The first consideration is the end market, which is as firm in price as many will ever recall, but with much volatility. Even without the subsequent transformation following the unfortunate circumstances in Ukraine, the market was likely to be relatively bullish as we are for the foreseeable future net importers of OSR, until the market regains the areas planted at the end of the last decade.

Additionally, even with the current Nitrogen prices, the gross margin for the crop, if established well, will stack up favourably at 3.5 t/ha given present market values.

It is also safe to say that, had there been moisture present in the very damaging autumn of 2019, the challenge although significant, would undoubtedly have been less destructive and the planting of markedly reduced areas in the last two autumns has also impacted flea beetle numbers.

We will almost certainly see a decision to plant an increased OSR area for autumn 2022. Key to this will be planting when the conditions are right, which could be as early as late July, or indeed as late as middle to end of September.

The decision on variety choice is key and hybrids would be the preferred option as they possess traits that the conventionals largely do not. Aurelia and LG Aviron are two key hybrids with TuYV resistance, pod shatter resistance, RLM 7 Phoma resistance and, in the case of LG Aviron, the best Light Leaf Spot resistance currently available. Aurelia is suited to earlier drilling and LG Aviron with its superb autumn and spring vigour is well suited to third week of August and beyond. Add to these choices PT303, with sclerotia resistance, and you have three key options.

If conventional is the preferred option as home saved seed is a requirement, then to KWS Campus and Acacia. Campus has remarkable consistency and has now been successfully grown for eight years with a reliability that many growers find reassuring. Acacia has shown its abilities in the last two years and is also a sound option. TuYV resistance in the conventional market can be found in Annika.

Clubroot resistant variety options should only be grown where Clubroot is an issue and not because they now offer less of a drop-off in yield. Croozer and Chrome have a track record in this sector, whilst LG Scorpion offers TuYV resistance and exceptional autumn vigour to aid establishment.

Clubroot could conceivably be a more widespread threat this season, as earlier drilling offers more risk, and can appear from nowhere. Infection is a threat in moist soils where temperatures are in the range of 16 – 25°C, with PH levels below 7.5 adding to this risk.