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Oilseed rape variety Pi Pinnacle is expected to perform well this harvest – despite the wet winter and challenging spring. Pinnacle sits top of... Pinnacle aims high this summer

Oilseed rape variety Pi Pinnacle is expected to perform well this harvest – despite the wet winter and challenging spring.

Pinnacle sits top of the AHDB Recommended list of conventional rape varieties with the highest gross output and treated yield across all AHDB regions over three years of official trials. It is fully recommended for the whole UK.

“Pinnacle has performed consistently in official and private independent trials, outperforming the popular conventional variety Campus as well as many hybrids,” explains Grainseed general manager Neil Groom.

In National List 1 trials, Pinnacle yielded 108% which was 5% more than Campus, said Mr Groom. In National List 2, trials it outperformed Campus by 4%, yielding 104% – making it the top conventional variety, he added.

Number one

In AHDB trials last year, Pinnacle yielded 103% gross output in the east and west regions (with 104% treated yield) and 101% in the north (with 102% treated yield), again taking the number one spot for conventional varieties in both regions.

That said, Pinnacle is a new variety while Campus is well-proven, having been grown across more than 500,000ha over the past decade. With no major weaknesses, it remains a popular choice with many growers.

Breeder KWS says Campus continues to give high gross output across all regions and soil types.

It scores 6 for light leaf spot and stem canker, giving a good resistance to both diseases and performing where verticillium stem stripe is found.

At a time when many plant breeders are focusing on hybrids, Pinnacle was bred in the UK by independent plant breeder Mike Pickford, who has been focusing on the conventional oilseed rape market for over half a century.

“As the trials show, a top performing conventional variety can easily outperform some hybrid varieties,” he explains. “My philosophy of breeding is using a ‘component analysis technique’ for a high harvest Index.”

UK conditions

Mr Pickford says his varieties are ideally suited to UK conditions because they are bred in the Cotswolds.

“My breeding philosophy is simple – and that is to improve individual yield components.”

This includes increasing the size of the seed – a key contributor to yield performance.  Pinnacle has seed with a thousand grain weight of 6.5-7g compared to Campus at 5-6g.

“I also try to maintain clean green stems when ripening allowing more efficient photosynthesis during the ripening grain filling process. Pi Pinnacle is late to flower so avoids the risk of flower loss due to late frosts.

“In terms of ripening, Pinnacle is still a medium to early variety, similar to Campus. This ensures harvest is completed before first wheats are ready to be cut and following crops can be planted in good time, while the rape seed is already in storage.”

The variety is included in the United Oilseeds portfolio for 2024. As well as a decent yield, Pinnacle has a good oil content of 44.3%.

This means it offers growers peak yields and peak profits while at the same time being attractive to crushers and processors.

United Oilseeds seed manager Beckii Gibbs explains: “Conventional varieties will always have a place in the rape market and Mike Pickford has done a brilliant job of developing the top variety.”