Cereals 2018: New ‘triple layer’ oilseed rape could benefit East Anglian farmers

PUBLISHED: 19:21 14 June 2018 | UPDATED: 19:21 14 June 2018

The Cereals 2018 event at Chrishall Grange, Cambridgeshire. Pictured: Mike Mann and Sarah Hawthorne of DSV UK. Picture: Chris Hill

The Cereals 2018 event at Chrishall Grange, Cambridgeshire. Pictured: Mike Mann and Sarah Hawthorne of DSV UK. Picture: Chris Hill

Chris Hill

Seed breeding innovators have claimed a UK first by pioneering a new variety of oilseed rape with a “triple layer” of protection against crop diseases and premature seed loss.

DSV, whose UK base is at Downham Market near King’s Lynn, said the new generation of varieties displayed at the Cereals 2018 event in Cambridgeshire could be available to growers as early as this winter.

Managing director Mike Mann said this was the latest development in a programme launched before the EU ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments – a chemical previously used to protect the crop from pests, but which was blamed for declines in bee health.

The three varieties now being tested in the UK will be the first commercially available varieties to combine phoma stem canker and light leaf spot resistance with turnip yellow virus resistance and pod shatter resistance, he said.

“Whilst the loss of neonicotinoids has focused many people’s minds on growing crops without all the chemistry they would like, it has also made them aware that this is but the start of a new future where such inputs will be less available and, inevitably, more costly,” said Mr Mann.

“The varieties have been developed specifically to help growers meet the future challenges of reduced chemistry, increasingly variable growing conditions and the need to reduce inputs costs to be more competitive on the world stage.”

Sarah Hawthorne of DSV UK said the company hopes the first of the new varieties will make it onto the Candidate List this December.

“We sincerely believe they represent a new generation of varieties that will not only add to the resurgence in oilseed rape’s popularity in the UK, but also allow growers to produce the crop with greater confidence, lower inputs and higher margins in the future,” she said.

“We hope to add additional layers such as verticillium wilt tolerance and clubroot resistance in the future.

“Developments in data management and precision farming will go a long way to making production more efficient and less wasteful in the future, but a foundation of stronger varieties – dramatically less needy of agronomic intervention – would be transformative.”

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