Mr Bennett believes that growers are in the fortunate position of being able to choose from a range of varieties that can really make a difference to the profitability of the crop. “We have the genetics in place to deal with some of the bigger challenges the crop faces around establishment, ever increasing disease challenges in an environment of rising costs, and volatile market prices.”

“High gross output and robust agronomics are a must if we are to minimise cropping risks and costs associated with growing OSR today.”

“In choosing varieties with high disease resistance ratings, good agronomics, vigorous establishment and rapid early crop development, it is possible to minimise these threats and reduce the overall costs of growing the crop,” he says.

Mr Bennett believes one of the most exciting prospects of all the WOSR candidate varieties on the AHDB Recommended List for 2016/17 is Limagrain’s hybrid, Aquila.

“Aquila is the most credible variety coming forward, with a very full toolbox of these important and valuable characteristics that can only add value to the OSR grower’s bottom-line. The variety has been selected as being a credible partner to sit alongside varieties like Alizze and DK Extrovert.”

Aquila is a candidate variety for the east/west, offering the highest gross output of 106.2% over control in official trials. “That’s 5.5%, 3.4% and 2.6% greater than DK Exalte, DK Exclaim and Dariot respectively. The variety’s high oil output is worth highlighting at 45.5% – again higher than the other three varieties.”

These yields are backed up by an AHDB resistance rating of 8 for phoma (stem canker), as well as a very good rating of 6 for light leaf spot. “Genetic defence against light leaf spot is crucial to a successful crop; the disease is now widespread across the UK and we no longer have the chemistry needed to control it. A good phoma resistance allows growers to focus on a timely LLS fungicide programme, with some compromise on the early autumn phoma spray, under moderate infection conditions,” he says.

Aquila is a medium-tall variety with very stiff straw, and is early to mature; all of which make it a useful variety on farm.

“Vigorous establishment and rapid early crop growth are essential to an OSR crop if it is to have any chance of getting away from flea beetle and slugs that can decimate a crop before it has even got going. Aquila has demonstrated its superb autumn and spring vigour so it is a real contender, particularly when conditions are less than ideal or when it is late drilled after a preceding wheat crop.”

Mr Bennett considers pod shatter resistance to be a very important characteristic in OSR, as those varieties that carry a high degree of pod shatter resistance, such as Aquila, can make a real difference to seed losses both before and at harvest.
“When looking at what Aquila has to offer, the variety is a complete package and readily deserves very strong consideration when deciding upon the variety mix for planting in autumn 2016.”

Agronomic Performance Data

AQUILA DK Cabernet PT211 PR46W21
Oil Content @ 9% moisture 45.5 45.1 45.8 45.7
Resistance to Lodging 8 9 8 8
Stem Stiffness 7 8 8 8
Earliness of Flowering 6 4 5 6
Earliness of Maturity 6 6 5 6
Plant Height (cm) 157 152 156 156

January 2016. Data from the AHDB Recommended Lists database 2016/17, E/W region. On the 1-9 scales, high figures indicate that a variety shows the character to a high degree.

Disease Resistance

AQUILA DK Cabernet PT211 PR46W21
Light Leaf Spot 6 7 6 4
Stem Canker 8 6 5 3

Pictured: Choosing an OSR variety with the right genetics can help to reduce inputs costs believes Lee Bennett of Openfield