The name Oilseed rape is derived from the Old English term for turnip rapum, it is the third-largest source of vegetable oil in the world and the second-leading source of protein meal after soybean.
For animal nutrition, whole seed and oil-extracted rape meals are high-value animal feed components.
Winter OSR can be sown up to mid-September, depending on location.
To establish, prepare a fine, firm, level seedbed and sow to a depth of 1.5cm. Ploughing followed by a one-pass drilling technique is still popular but minimum tillage as for cereals is also satisfactory.
Ideally cultivation should be done when soil conditions are dry as rape does not like compaction. However, the seedbed should be rolled as rape requires a consolidated seedbed, which also enables it to retain moisture. Aim to achieve a modest plant number of 25 to 30 plants/sq m, which usually works very well in most cases.
Rotation/break crop benefits
OSR is a good-break crop with the subsequent cereal crop typically yielding 0.5-1.5t/ha more than continuous cereals, due mainly to disease breaks but also other benefits which brassicas bring to rotations.
OSR provides weed control options for problematic grass weeds.
With early sowing and harvest dates and strong tap root development, OSR can help improve soil structure.
Autumn N uptake and good soil cover helps reduce N leaching and soil erosion.
Worth a note
- Do not put in tight rotations- a 1in 4 or 1 in 5 is best.
- Flea beetle is becoming a major concern, in our experience very accurate drilling ensures even emergence and is the best way to combat the threat.