Top OSR picks for this coming autumn and beyond part 2

Publish on May 9, 2024
Reading time : < 1 min
RAGT Seeds is on the verge of delivering some outstanding oilseed rape varieties, thanks to its decision to reset its breeding programme a few years ago.New material available for sowing this autumn covers a range of growth habits, traits and agronomic features, and there are also some very promising varieties in development.

In our last newsletter, RAGT UK’s managing director Lee Bennett looked at RGT Kanzzas, a highly vigorous newcomer and RGT Paparazzi, a high yielder with excellent phoma resistance, both of which are available this coming autumn.

He also introduced coded variety BNJ2107, which features excellent all-round disease resistance.

This month, he reviews some more potential big hitters and promising material in the pipeline.


RGT Blackmoon

RGT Blackmoon is a variety that suits less fertile or exposed sites, or where drilling is going to be late, where early, strong vigour is crucial, Lee advises.

“It’s quite something,” he adds. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rape variety grow like it. It is seriously quick.

“If you need something that gets away quickly and never looks back, for example on an exposed site or a cold, north-facing slope, or you’re sowing late and flea beetle is a concern, RGT Blackmoon is the one.

“It needs to be managed it correctly – sow it early on fertile sites or you’ll want the sheep on it. Play to its strengths and it won’t let you down – it’s certainly not shy of yield.”

RGT Blackmoon’s phoma resistance is very good, and the variety is resistant to TUYV. It is a taller type, with very stiff straw and an upright canopy with good resistance to pod shatter, making for an easy harvest.

“It has a unique look about it,” says Lee. “It has plenty of biomass, which is a big part of what farmers look for in a variety – they want a healthy-looking big crop that looks forward, never backwards.

“The big take-home message is that this variety flies out of the ground. If you want serious get up and go then RGT Blackmoon has no equal.”


RGT Ceos

RGT Ceos contains a range of valuable traits stacked into a different genetic background, produced using an exciting new parent line via the MSL hybridisation system introduced as part of RAGT’s recently revamped oilseed rape breeding programme.

“UK merchants are looking for new alternatives and are really interested in this variety,” says Lee. “RGT Ceos is a good example of our new breeding direction and contains some real game-changing characteristics.”

A strong disease-resistance package, including RAGT’s unique source of TuYV resistance, along with excellent resistance towards pod shatter, supports very high yields.

The variety performs consistently, whether planted early or late, and is extremely vigorous, all useful traits for flea-beetle management.

“It reminds me a lot of Extrovert,” says Lee. “Like that variety, RGT Ceos has the lot. As well as the previously mentioned traits, it has very stiff straw and is not too tall, so should combine well.

“It’s a great all-round package, and has been doing so well everywhere in Europe, we had to have it. “

RGT Ceos is currently in NL2 trials and will be available for limited commercial production in autumn 2024.


RGT Shirazz

RGT Shirazz is another new variety that exhibits very good autumn and spring vigour.

“RGT Shirazz has real get-up-and-go,” says Lee. “It also has excellent light leaf spot resistance and deals very well with phoma too. It’s a stiff strawed, big canopy style variety with pod shatter resistance.

“It’s basically an improved version of RGT Kanzzas with slight improvements in all agronomic characteristics, along with massive improvements in gross output, particularly in the North.

“It makes no sense that the Recommended List trials have not reflected the genetic potential in the East/West series like they have in the North of England and Scotland.

“This perhaps reflects the weakness of the current trial system – you either have yield or you don’t, and RGT Shirazz is full of it.

“Rape trials are so fickle now. It’s not the fault of the trials officers or the system, if you get bad germination or bad establishment/flea beetle there’s nothing you can do about it, it just reflects the adversity of growing OSR right now.

“I’ve always liked RGT Shirazz from day dot and I think it will work as well on farm as anything else out there.”


Greenpack companion crops

RAGT’s range of oilseed rape companion crops includes a unique blend that helps protect oilseed rape crops from damaging early pollen beetle attack.

Greenpack Gold contains a companion crop mixture, typically fenugreek and buckwheat, that helps protect small, vulnerable OSR plants from cabbage stem flea beetle attack in the autumn and which goes on to compete with weeds and condition soils to aid crop development.

The key difference between this and other companion crop mixtures is the inclusion of an early flowering OSR variety, at a volume that equates to about 10% of the main commercial variety seed rate, which acts as ‘trap crop’ for pollen beetles in the spring. For further information see here.

Greenpack Duo options, which contain companion crops only, are also available and, like Greenpack Gold, can be grown with any variety a grower selects regardless of breeder. “Not all growers will want the pollen beetle control element, so this standalone offer will suit their needs perfectly,” says Lee.

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