New oilseed rape hybrid stands firm against sclerotinia pressure

New oilseed rape hybrid 'PT303' is able to stand firm against sclerotinia pressure
New oilseed rape hybrid 'PT303' is able to stand firm against sclerotinia pressure

A new winter oilseed rape hybrid variety is standing up to pressure from the fungal disease sclerotinia as infection begins to rise in parts of the UK.

PT303 Protector Sclerotinia from Pioneer, the seed brand of Corteva Agriscience, is living up to its claim to be the first variety offering growers genetic tolerance to the disease.

In the past few days, sclerotinia symptoms have been observed in a Corteva trial field near Ingatestone, Essex.

In the trial, PT303 is in a three-hectare block next to a different hybrid being grown commercially on the farm. The trial showcases a stark contrast in disease levels.

A spike in reports of sclerotinia coincides with the wet, humid conditions of recent weeks. Such conditions allow the disease to thrive.

The trials show that when sclerotinia infection is at 25% or above, the severity of the disease in PT303 is reduced by up to 75%.

With the sclerotinia pathogen remaining in the soil for up to eight years in some cases, Seeds & Inoculants Manager Andy Stainthorpe says PT303 is a good option for farmers looking to add a layer of ‘built-in’ protection against the disease.

He said: “We are starting to see the exciting potential of PT303. We are seeing a visible lack of sclerotinia when compared to a different hybrid sown in the same field.

"The infection seems to have taken hold despite the whole trial field having received one fungicide at flowering time."

This trial is a direct demonstration of PT303’s inherent sclerotinia tolerance, which could prevent a reduction in yield as high as 60%, My Stainthorpe said.

"This comparison confirms our view that the trait incorporated into PT303 is a crucial one for growers looking for consistent protection against this damaging and unpredictable disease," he added.

In addition, PT303 has already shown in AHDB Recommended List trials results it can deliver the highest yields and vigour.