Going forward with Oilseed Rape.

chipchap

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
South Shropshire
I am in the same dilemma as everybody else; how much rapeseed do I try to establish this autumn. We are a plough based system at present and plough down a good dressing of broiler litter. Most of our crops established to some extent last time, but there are a lot of bare and weedy headlands. Sprayed twice for flea beetle last time. However the rape crops are the poorest we have ever grown, and I am minded to cut our acreage this autumn. What are you all doing?
 

Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
I'm just sat here writting an article for the next Direct Driller magazine ......

The future of OSR on this farm is doubtful, we seem to have got away without CSFB issues longer than some but it was inevitable it would hit us eventually, pests do not respect farm boundaries or hedgerows so regardless of IPM or soil health on individual farms there is nothing an individual farmer can do to remain immune to this problem.

Unlike many, I believe the ban on neonicotinoids is not entirely responsible for this issue. In fact, I think this is a clear example of how unsustainable modern agriculture has become when an entire crop can seemingly no longer be grown. The blame in my opinion for this loss sits firmly at the feet of poor rotation, agronomy and often blatant, historic, disregard of IPM. Afterall I am certain the Romans who bought this crop to the UK farmed without seed dressings and pyrethroid. Yet in just one generation we seem to have made something possible for thousands of years, impossible. If that doesn’t make you question the overall direction of modern farming and its impact upon our environment, then it should, what crop will we be crossing off the options list next I wonder if we don’t change? Blackgrass problems anyone?
 

Steevo

Member
Location
Gloucestershire
I'm just sat here writting an article for the next Direct Driller magazine ......

OSR can still be grown in the UK, after all it happily grows on roundabouts and roadsides without any issue. Growing it economically is a whole different ballgame, and this is something that perhaps wasn't quite the issue for the Romans.

The Romans may have farmed OSR here (you learn something new every day!) but they probably didn't have quite the challenges of imports from abroad, GM, high rents, etc that make it unsustainable financially. The economics of growing OSR are what ruin it more than the agonomic ability to grow it.

Bottom line: If OSR was worth £3000/t I don't think farmers would be quite so fussed if only parts of each field survived because it would still pay to grow it.
 
Not growing any for the foreseeable

last year we had rape that looked ok in march
Which had flea beetle in every branch this produced very few viable pods
Sprayed off early when we saw no viable pods
See most rape round here looking the same
We cannot justify planting a block then only keeping half of it in March only to then find most of it has no yield
better to plant more of a crop we break even on
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
Can’t afford the risk so won’t be growing any. As said, even it survives autumn, it is so badly damaged in the spring it just doesn’t yield. Some been left round here but its rubbish .
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
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just started cutting osr, the amount of ladybirds is unbelievable. Probably built up due to mealy aphids. Not many flea beetles. Insecticide free.
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
Perhaps if agriculture used no insecticides at all for a few years the natural balance of insects would re-establish?
dont see any ladybirds or earwigs in my grain carts anymore.
The thing is, filling a field with OSR isn’t natural and as it provides a massive feast for certain pests, those pests thrive without some intervention to suppress them. There are no predators that I know of that suppress flea beetle anyway. The plant in nature can live with fleabeetle but doesn’t yield very well. Until some kind of artificial suppression of the flea beetle comes along then the jobs knackered as far as I can see: some of course will be lucky some years and get away with it due to geographical location, favourable weather etc but it will a lottery for many of us for which it isn’t worth buying a ticket in my view.
 

jack6480

Member
Location
Staffs
The thing is, filling a field with OSR isn’t natural and as it provides a massive feast for certain pests, those pests thrive without some intervention to suppress them. There are no predators that I know of that suppress flea beetle anyway. The plant in nature can live with fleabeetle but doesn’t yield very well. Until some kind of artificial suppression of the flea beetle comes along then the jobs knackered as far as I can see: some of course will be lucky some years and get away with it due to geographical location, favourable weather etc but it will a lottery for many of us for which it isn’t worth buying a ticket in my view.

Say something cheerful
 

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
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