Farm Manager Philip Steans of Lackham Farm in Wiltshire has already harvested some of his Alienor winter oilseed rape (on 9th July) and it has yielded a remarkable 3.75 t/ha (1.5 t/acre). “This has been one of the earliest harvests we have known on the farm and the fact that Alienor has come off the field so early yet yielded so well is a winning combination as far as we are concerned,” says Philip.
He reports that the Alienor on the sandy land went in really well in late August and it established well. “To be honest it has looked good all the way through. Coming into the winter it was ankle height and quite advanced and this continued throughout the spring. The crop suffered no checks at all and looked vigorous throughout. We monitored its GAI (Green Area Index) and this indicated that we needed only apply 50 kg of Nitrogen to the crop. Alienor has a good disease resistance profile (with a 7 for Phoma and a 6 for Light Leaf Spot), so we also only applied just 2 fungicides to the crop. Growing such a variety under a low input regime offers more opportunity to produce a profitable crop,” he says.
“We desiccated the crop with glyphosate and also use a pod sealant, Pod-Stik. Harvest was easy as Alienor is a low biomass
variety with stiff straw. This allows a faster work rate and a lower harvest costs. The fact that it has come off the field so early means that workload is spread across the farm and there is more time to work the soil for the following wheat crop. Although this particular field doesn’t have black-grass, I can see that such an early harvest will allow cultivations and stale seedbeds to reduce weed populations,” says Philip.
“I am really pleased with this rape variety. It is low biomass, has excellent straw strength and is early maturing. It also performs well, producing good yields even on light land. We are able to reduce input costs and this will mean better margins. We intend to grow it again next year,” says Philip.