Finders Keepers, loser’s weepers – growers that elect to go for the new high yielding conventional rape variety Keeper from Grainseed will be pleased they did. This is a new high performing conventional winter oilseed rape variety which is suitable for growers in the East and West of the country. It is has been added to National List trials.

Neil Groom, technical director for Grainseed, said: “Keeper is a new conventional variety bred specifically for the UK market by the independent breeder Mike Pickford. It is an agronomically sound variety with excellent disease ratings which will make it a firm favourite on farm. It has produced excellent yields around the country including the more challenging sites. In 2017 harvest it yielded an amazing 6.28 tonnes/hectare in Herefordshire, 5.93 t/ha in Shropshire, 5.83 t/ha in Suffolk, 5.45 t/ha in South Yorkshire, 5.41 t/ha in Northumberland, 5.11 t/ha in Oxfordshire, 4.52 t/ha in South Lincolnshire, 4.48 t/ha in Hampshire and 4.22 t/ha in North Lincolnshire. It also has a good oil level of 45.5%. It has the ability to keep leaves greener for longer which can only add to yield.”

As well as excellent yields, it is a strong low biomass variety with a height of 154 cms. Lower biomass and good standing power equals higher work rates. Work by Claas has shown that combines can cut 1.25 hectares of rape/hour in a standing crop, but only half this is a lodged one. Keeper is a shorter variety with good stem stiffness (rating of 7) and lodging attributes (rating against lodging of 8) meaning it is an easy crop to grow and harvest on farm.

It has excellent autumn vigour meaning it has a better chance of getting up and away reducing slug and cabbage stem beetle damage. Its disease resistance is 6 for Light Leaf Spot, and 7 for Phoma, which is still the most prevalent disease of rape. According to Crop Monitor in 2018 Phoma was found in 90% of the national crop, 32% of plants and 100% in samples from East Anglia., whereas Light leaf spot was found in just 64% of crops and 15% of plants.”

“Phoma has the potential to cause yield losses of 0.5 to 1 t/ha. Keeper’s rating of 7 for stem canker resistance gives a wider window to apply your fungicide without a detrimental effect on yield. Later fungicide applications also give the benefit of more Light leaf Spot control. Keeper also shows good tolerance to Verticillium wilt. With no approved chemical solution to this disease, growers need to rely on the variety’s intrinsic tolerance.”

Neil says that Keeper offers UK growers a strong variety with all the necessary agronomic characteristics a grower is looking for – “It is the real deal,” he says.