Thursday, May 23, 2019

Hybrids win lion’s share of rape market

November 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Crops

Major growth in popularity for the second year has seen hybrid oilseed rape varieties win the lion’s share of certified seed sales this year.

Hybrid varieties accounted for just over 60% of this seasonís sales of certified “double low” winter OSR seed, according to estimates compiled by Masstock SMART Farming – a massive turnaround from the 15% recorded as recently as 2006.

Overall, the estimates indicate UK double low crop plantings have grown to another all-time record of this autumn, with speciality Vistive and industrial HEAR crops pushing the total national winter OSR area to around 650,000ha.

“Expansion of the national crop and the increase in the popularity of hybrids means hybrid seed sales have grown from less than 50,000ha in 2006 to almost 300,000ha this autumn,” said Masstock national arable seed product manager Barry Barker.

“Although farm saving means pure lines still comprise over 50% of the present crop in the ground, this is steadily eroding from two thirds last year and a good 70% in 2009. Back in 2006 pure lines represented over 90% of national plantings.”

A combination of excellent price prospects and the exceptional performance of so many crops last season was clearly behind record winter OSR plantings this time around, said Mr Barker.

Hybrids seemed to be proving increasingly attractive as the availability of top quality varieties offering particular commercial performance consistency, sowing date flexibility and disease resistance had increased.

With 14% of certified seed sales, the best selling variety for the second consecutive year is Excalibur. Mr Barket said had led the way in converting growers to the hybrid cause since its recommendation in 2006/7 and continued to shine.

In second place, with 12% of the market is RL candidate, DK ExPower. Rated 9 for stem canker resistance, Mr Barker said it had proved its value in trials and on farm over the past season.

Another hybrid, Compass (9%), just edged pure-line DK Cabernet (8%) into third place, according to the Masstock figures. RL leader PR46W21 claimed nearly 7% of seed sales ahead of Sesame at 6%. No other varieties exceeded 5% of sales.

“No less than four of this autumnís six top-selling winter OSR varieties are hybrids,” said Mr Barker. “In 2006, it was just one – Excalibur. And before this pure lines almost totally dominated the market.”

Once farm-saving is taken into account, DK Cabernet continues to lead the field as the most widely grown UK variety with an estimated 12% of total plantings. Even so, Excalibur pushes it hard at 11% – despite the fact it can’t be farm-saved.

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