Oilseed Rape variety, Mambo, is proving to be the all-round variety for farmers this year.

Michael Fisher, director of Northlands Farm (Thorney) ltd, Thorney, Cambridgeshire farms around six hundred hectares of arable land, on fen soil, specifically growing winter oilseed rape, winter wheat, spring barley and spring beans.

“I grow oilseed rape for its rotational and agronomic value as well as its financial returns. We have found the rape variety Mambo from Grainseed a reliable and consistent performer. For yield, we aim for 5 t/ha but generally achieve 4.5 t/ha, which with the current oilseed rape price will give us an excellent return," Michael said.

"Mambo is not top of the league for yield but it yields well and we have found it to be a more consistent performer when compared with the variety Campus, for instance, and its oil content is generally better,” he added.

Mr Fisher, along with many other farmers who have grown rape in a tight rotation, has had a significant flea beetle problem to deal with following the ban of the neonicotinoid seed treatments a number of years ago.

“Extending rotations and early drilling are reported to reduce pest pressure. So I am trying to widen our rotation so that we grow rape to at least one in five. I am also careful and try to avoid, where possible not growing an oilseed rape crop too close to preceding crops of rape, the greater distance we can achieve both in the rotation and on the ground to previous crops the better as far as I can see. Mambo which is a conventional rape variety is a very vigorous performer which is helpful for getting the crop well established early.”

Michael also believes that Mambo has many other positive agronomic traits that make it an easy to manage variety. As an example, being a conventional variety, Michael can save his own seed.

“Part of my strategy against flea beetle is to use higher seed rates so that we can withstand some plant loss but without too much of an impact on final yields or too much of a financial hit. Dependent upon conditions, I will drill up to double the normal seed rate of 4-5 kg/ha and to mitigate costs. I use 50% home saved seed and 50% new seed, supplied by Anglia Grain Services who also clean my home saved seed,” he stated.

"In order to avoid flea beetle damage as much as we can, I try to get my rape into the ground as early as possible around the last few days of July. I have on a few instances even untreated broadcast rape seed into a standing crop of wheat to accelerate its early establishment.”

Mr Fisher added that Mambo is the most successful variety of rape that he grows.

“On our fertile fen soils, it has the two important benefits of excellent standing power and stem stiffness, with a nine rating for resistance to lodging and an eight for stem stiffness. I have every intention of growing Mambo going forward.” he said.

Neil Groom, General Manager of Grainseed, added that Mambo also has a strong all round disease resistance with one of the highest combined disease resistance ratings: “If you have a verticillium problem, where there are no approved fungicides to control this soil borne disease, then you must grow a variety like Mambo with innate resistance. Mambo’s multisite Phoma rating of 7.8 is also very high and this can give you more thinking time and you may be able to save an autumn fungicide spray. Mambo’s Light leaf spot rating is 6.4.”

Read more: Oilseed rape profit revival?

“Anglia Grain Services are the largest UK processor of farmed saved seed of all major arable crops with modern mobile seed processing machines, covering twenty-three counties. My clients have always got on well with Mambo. It is an easy variety to grow with many important agronomic traits adding to this. It is also an easy variety to clean, producing a big bold sample,” commented Monty Maule, regional business manager for Anglia Grain Services, who supplies new seed of Mambo to Northlands Farm and provides rapid cleaning services for home-saved seed.

“This year a few returned and I think we will see even more this coming autumn. I think many will be dipping their toes in the water once more. If that is the case, I would advise them to grow a low-risk variety such as Mambo,” he commented.

“It is a bomb proof variety for growers with consistent high yields but low expenditure. Seed costs are reasonable and you can home save your seed. It makes sense to go down this route. We can clean oilseed rape seed within 24 to 48 hours so that if the optimum drilling window presents itself and the seed bed is moist, the seed will be cleaned and ready to go quickly."