Hybrid oilseed rape originally made its mark in UK arable production through delivery of significantly improved vigour over conventional varieties, greater establishment reliability and higher yields.

Although hybrid seed was often perceived as more expensive than that for conventional varieties and, certainly, more than farm-saved seed, when the added security and better production offered was factored in, the cost-benefits were significant with market share rising to nearly 65% a few years ago.

Around mainland Europe, up to 90% of all oilseed rape grown is hybrid and in countries with extreme winters and highly challenging growing conditions, hybrids are the only type of oilseed rape that will survive and thrive.

Over the years, such countries have been the testing ground for DSV varieties and with our own climate now producing highly variable production years, it has proved to be a wise decision. The truth is in a good year, a modern conventional variety will produce a similar yield to a hybrid, but in a testing year they will fall well short.

Its equally true that, such good years are becoming increasingly far apart and oilseed rape growers now have the additional challenge of a massively reduced agronomic arsenal to fall back on if things go wrong.

One thing is for sure, the task of growing oilseed rape successfully and profitability has not become any easier in the last ten years.

Hybrid advantage
The attributes that made hybrids successful in the first place resilience, vigour and reliability - are now more important than ever but there is an increasingly relevant characteristic that is coming to the fore.

In a future where the plants inbuilt genetics have to do more to guarantee its success than the management interventions employed as it grows, be it fungicide, insecticide or PGR application, hybrids have a distinct advantage.

Where it can take many years of trial and error breeding to introduce beneficial characteristics into conventional varieties, with hybrids it can take a fraction of the time.

You only have to look at DSVs latest layered varieties to see how relevant disease resistance and agronomic properties are already being stacked to provide a new generation of oilseed rape varieties that are as close to drill and forget varieties as possible at the present time.

Take DSV Temptation, a double-layer variety with multi-gene resistance to phoma and light leaf spot plus genuine genetic resistance to Turnip Yellow Virus (TuYV). Newly added to the AHDB recommended list last December, DSV Temptation has outstanding yield and oil content yet offers the highest levels of agronomic performance possible too.

But its only the start. DSV Darling and Dazzler, now moving through the UK testing system, are true triple-layer varieties with pod shatter resistance added to the multi-gene resistance to phoma and light leaf spot and TuYV resistance of DSV Temptation.

Benefits stack-up

Such varieties herald the dawn of a new generation of hybrid oilseed rape varieties combining dependable high yields with low inputs making them the perfect choice for integrated management approaches without the dependence on intensive agronomy previously needed to secure high output.

The beauty of the hybrid approach is that such stacked layers can be quickly developed and assimilated in new varieties a process that would take years to accomplish with conventional varieties.

The bottom line is that we can react almost in real time to the needs of growers and produce varieties that address their concerns and offset much of the threat climate, disease and pest attack presents all underpinned by the resilience and yield potential that have made DSV varieties so popular with UK growers.

Looking to the future, quad-layer varieties are a real prospect with verticillium wilt and clubroot resistance being added into the mix and we will continue to develop the DSV Clearfield portfolio using the same thinking.

Clearfield too

DSV Phoenix CL now accounts for 30% of the UK Clearfield market and is a truly international variety being sold in every country OSR is grown. With excellent scores for resistance to lodging and stem stiffness combined with good resistance to light leaf spot and stem canker, its the first of our Clearfield varieties to include pod shatter resistance too.

Our latest DSV Plurax CL take this further with strong tolerance to verticillium wilt with outstanding yields that place it at the top of the yield tables with many industry commentators believing it be the best Clearfield variety ever developed.

The pace of such developments is unprecedented in oilseed rape genetics and whilst hybridisation lies at the heart of this, is only possible as a result of our on-the-ground understanding of the needs of growers in the future and the unrivalled experience and expertise of our breeders.

At a farm level, this not only means hybrid varieties will have a greater role to play in the future of oilseed rape production the UK, it will also help ensure the crop continues to be a viable and reliable crop in all locations it is produced.​

You can read this update from DSV UK on TFF's AGVendor...

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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...