Drilling his crop of winter oilseed rape on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year with 30mph winds and at a lower than normal seed rate, Tim Lamyman believed his crop of Aspire OSR would never reach its full potential..
However the crop has surprised everyone – producing an unbelievable gross output of 6.5t/ha with 45.4% oil content – only 0.5t/ha behind last years world record.
Aspire is a conventional variety that sits in lead position on the AHDB OSR Recommended List for 2019/20, offering the highest gross output for both the east/west and north regions. It is Turnip Yellows Virus (TuYV) resistant, suits early drilling and has short and stiff straw.
“We drilled the crop on the 19th August at 2.5 kg/ha – and this was a big mistake as we had not realised that the seed had been supplied in 2ha packs and not the standard 3ha packs that we were used to. So of course this meant that the crop was only drilled at two thirds of the standard seed rate!” he explains.
By mid-October, there were bare patches in the field and Mr Lamyman was not sure if he was going to spend any more money on the crop.
“ There was more bare ground than there was crop! I was threatening to plough it up and re-drill it with spring barley.”
“Basically, the oilseed rape had died in the combine trails where the volunteers had used up all the moisture and killed the rape plants – and I thought if there were no plants to start with, then there wasn’t much else to be done”.
“However the crop was left in the ground over winter and in the spring, Mr Lamyman walked the field with Ron Granger of Limagrain UK. They both believed that there would be learnings to be had from what had gone wrong, so the OSR was entered into the Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) competition in the Yield Potential category.
This category awards the three top OSR crops with the highest percentage of potential yield – which in this case would most likely be a low yielding result, as the potential of the crop was so low to start with.
“Once I had committed to this, it was a case of really looking at what the crop needed in terms of nutrition and pushing it as hard as possible, as it came out of the spring,” says Mr Lamyman.
In March, the crop received; 1 l/ha XStress + 5 l/ha Delta K + 1 l/ha MagSulFlux (magnesium and Sulphur)
“The results were not as spectacular as I wanted and once again at the end of March I was ready to admit defeat and definitely plough the crop up, as even though it had altered, it looked as if I had completely wasted my money.”
But Mr Lamyman persevered.
In April, he applied; 1 l/ha XStress + 5 l/ha Delta K + 2.5 l/ha TipTop + 0.25 l/ha Toprex
“It was at the end of April, that I started to see the first miracle happen in the field and the Aspire miraculously started to grow and was filling in some of the gaps.”
By May, the crop was really looking to show some potential so he gave it; 1 l/ha XStress + 2.5 l/ha Delta + 0.5 l/ha Rainbow Wave + 0.5 l/ha CalFlux + 0.5 l/ha Amistar.
“The Aspire now finally looked like a half decent crop of rape, with just a few patches.”
In June, it got another; 1 l/ha XStress + 0.5 l/ha Rainbow Wave + 0.5 l/ha CalFlux + 0.25 l/ha Proline.
This was when the variety started to show its true colours, he says. “The crop really took off and the massive gaps every 7 m across the field had completely disappeared, even the double gaps on the headland where the combine had turned.”
“Suddenly I had an OSR crop that turned into the best looking rape crop on the farm, with unbelievable height and branching right from the base, with fantastic sized pods.”
“I do not ever think I have seen a crop recover as well as this has done.”
The Aspire was harvested on Sunday 4th August, and the results have been amazing considering the tough start that crop had – afterall it’s only 0.5t/ha less than we had in our record breaking oilseed rape crop last year!”