Andrew Stilwell of the distributor Bartholomews has been a great supporter of the winter oilseed rape variety Alienor which has been a widely grown variety in his patch, mainly because of its early vigour, but also consistent yield results and oil content as well. “An important common thread with growers is to identify a variety with good early vigour, so they can establish their crop earlier and get it to the correct growth stage before the winter sets in. They will also be looking for ways to overcome the loss of the neonicotinoids. I think we now have the next natural successor to Alienor in Alegria, which has the same strong autumn and spring vigour.”
“The loss of neonicotinoid seed treatments Modesto and Cruiser will present some potential problems in the early management of rape crops this autumn. Interestingly this spring we saw some spring oilseed rape crops completely destroyed by heavy infestation of flea beetles. You don’t realise how valuable these dressings have been until they are gone. However we will be looking to overcome these problems by maximising the strong vigour characteristics of Alienor and Alegria, in the continued absence of such seed treatments,” says Andrew.
He adds that both these varieties also have good Phoma resistance. “A lot of the new hybrids have a lower score for Phoma, whereas Alienor and Alegria have a robust 7 rating, making management easier, more flexible and cheaper.”
“Growers have been very pleased with Alienor in the past and this year I can see a lot of growers switching to Alegria. It looks to be the next generation to Alienor, with excellent vigour, multigene Phoma resistance and, of course high yields. Potentially growers will be able to reap higher returns with this variety,” he says.
Neil Groom, Technical Director of Grainseed, says that Alegria is a high yielding conventional winter rape variety with consistent performance across a range of sites. “It has an average treated yield of 106% and high oil content, leading to good gross margins. It has exceptional autumn vigour and excellent spring vigour, ahead of many hybrids. It is of medium height at 155cm, but, with a 9 rating for resistance to lodging and an 8 for stem stiffness, it is easily managed and harvested. It has multigene resistance to stem canker with a high resistance rating of 7 and good resistance to Verticillium and Light Leaf Spot.”
Neil comments that Alienor has consistently been one of the varieties assessed by ADAS as being highly resistant to Verticillium and this years’ observations reiterate that. Alegria looks to be even better in the trials this year.
“One key characteristic of Alegria is its earliness to harvest, as early as Es Alienor. This early maturity and harvest means that you avoid creating a potential clash with the wheat harvest or putting added pressure on drilling following crops. With the amount of black-grass about, an early harvest allows more time for more than one stale seedbed application of glyphosate ahead of drilling, a technique that has become more important as weed resistance has become more widespread. Alegria is harvested and in the barn
before many other varieties have even started being harvested. This is a real benefit to growers in most years.”