“It’s a valuable trait, not just in maintaining yields, but pod shatter resistance also gives growers flexibility during harvest by extending the period that the crop can hold on in the field. It is also a valuable tool for reducing the number of oilseed rape volunteers in the following crop.”
Graph on flexibility of harvest – see below.
“It is possible to precisely quantify pod shatter resistance using lab based techniques, where the force required to shatter the pod is measured, and testing varieties in this way clearly shows that there are significant differences in the resistance between varieties that claim to carry POSH resistance”, says Dr Gegas.
“In the Limagrain OSR breeding programme, we have sophisticated breeding tools which allow us to introduce POSH resistance into our hybrid varieties, which are then extensively tested in this way, so we have the confidence that these varieties do indeed offer high levels of pod shatter resistance.”
Independent crop consultant Allen Scobie, based in central Scotland, believes the most important aspect of the oilseed rape harvest is maximizing recoverable yield, and pod shatter resistance goes a long way to achieving this by reducing the risk of damage from strong winds and cutter bar losses. “Scottish growers have dealt with some fairly mixed weather at the start of harvest over the last few years, and in 2016 areas of central Scotland experienced strong gale force winds within days of harvest. Some growers lost more than half of their crop due to pod shatter but hybrids with the pod shatter resistance gene experienced little or no damage.”
“This year, a series of low pressures have prevented many growers from starting to harvest oilseed rape, so many crops are still standing in the field, and we will have to see what plays out with these crops.”
“Applications of pod stickers to reduce shatter loss have become common practice for many growers but at the current commercial rates they cost more and do not prevent the damage caused by last year’s strong winds,” he points out.
“Hybrids containing the pod shatter resistance gene can reduce the risk of losses from wind or delayed harvest and reduce the need for pod stickers.”