The Root Of Good Oilseeds

Mark Hemmant (with clipboard) leads the visitors around the plots
Mark Hemmant (with clipboard) leads the visitors around the plots

Completing a soil-restructuring pass before planting oilseed rape has helped create significantly greater root weights in trial plots run by Agrovista.

On plots at Morley, Norfolk, crops planted with Great Plains’ Yield-Pro planter behind the company’s ST Bar recorded greater root weights per plant at seeding rates of both 30 and 40 seeds/square metre, than either direct drilling or sowing after a pass with a one-pass cultivator.

The plots were sown last autumn, and when sample plants were measured at the end of January the differences in root volume were clear.

Working at 30 seeds/square metre, the Yield-Pro produced a root weight of 34.1 grammes/plant, against 17.7 gms from direct drilling and 32.7 gms after using the cultivator.

At 40 seeds/sq m, the Yield-Pro generated 24 gms, against 10.7 gms for direct drilling and 15.7 gms from the cultivator.

“That extra root volume could be crucial”, says Mark Hemmant, from Agrovista, “because it gives the crop greater ability to fully access the soil reserves of nutrients and moisture. If conditions turns dry this year it will also ensure the crop can continue to grow healthily”.

On other sites the benefits of deeper restructuring are also apparent, he says: “At CROFT we are seeing a big difference in root volume where seed was dropped directly behind the cultivating leg of the DTX as opposed to other establishment methods.

“And at STOUGHTON it is noticeable that the DTX’s leg has swept surface trash aside and ensured the seed landed directly on the soil and above the restructured zone, which has enabled it to get a good start and establish a healthy root system.

“Meanwhile on the trial site at DONCASTER, where we have also tested the Twin-Row planter’s ability to sow the crop in Twin-Row format, crops have come through the winter very well and we will be interested to see how they develop through the rest of the season”.