Since the introduction of Aurelia and Ambassador, LG’s OSR portfolio has dominated the Recommended List.
This not only shows the high yields that the breeders have been able to achieve, but also the consistency over regions and seasons.
This consistency comes from the LG approach towards stacking traits including pod shatter, TuYV and disease resistance and latterly the introduction of the stem health concept.
As breeders, we always look for the extremes to put our genetics to the test, to ensure that they are robust and do what they say they will, on farm. Whilst we breed for the UK market, our European programme allows us to screen across the continent, looking at phoma, light leaf spot and verticillium as well as the ability to compare against UK data which gives us confidence that varieties will perform.
This has not only been seen on farm in the UK, but also in Ireland where the resurgence of oilseed rape as a break crop has partly been due to the introduction of genetics, allowing the crop to be more manageable and risk free. Ireland has seen an increase in area of 30% over the last 6 years, with national average yields jumping from 4-4.5 t/ha to 5-5.5 t/ha.
John Dunne, variety manager for seed supplier Goldcrop, has put this down to the traits available. “It’s an essential part of the rotation for many, so having ‘stacked traits’ to secure its future place here is important.”
As breeders, we have long seen the importance of genetic resistance in Ireland, across all species, where the wet and mild climate causes high disease pressure.
In wheat breeding, all breeders screen for Septoria resistance and in Ireland due to the climate, light leaf spot is of similar importance in OSR.
“LLS has always been the tougher beast, to my mind, and in some years the circumstances play into it with higher pressures, especially when there are nearby OSR stubbles. As the disease cycles so frequently and repeatedly, it can be hard to control” says John.
Stem health will further add to this, with the reduced sporulation on stems meaning there is a reduced ‘pool’ of LLS spores to spread from stubbles to early sown crops. Early results from testing suggest that varieties such as LG Auckland and LG Armada are again raising the bar in terms of yield and stability for Irish growers.