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Harvest 2019: Cambridgeshire oilseed rape yields hampered by pest damage

A combination of cabbage stem flea beetle damage and lack of spring rainfall has led to a poor start to the oilseed rape harvest at Thriplow Farms in Cambridgeshire.

With around half of the 160 hectares of oilseed rape crop at the farm now cut, yields range from 1.17-2.61 tonnes/ha across the varieties Campus and Elgar.


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Grower, David Walston puts this down to a combination of dry weather and high levels of CSFB.

 

He says: “There was a particularly bad field effected by CSFB, everything has been, but we’ve also been very dry this spring and these are quite light fields. It’s a combination of both but flea beetle is the single biggest factor over all.”

But despite a challenging season, he is not giving up on the crop.

 

He says: “Last year we had an excellent rape crop and we grow it very cheaply, so a low 2t/ha is our breakeven point.

“I’m anticipating keeping our area constant, but it really relies on there being good drilling conditions at the beginning of August. If it’s still very dry then I may have to change my plans.”

 

With the variety Picto still left to cut, Mr Walston says no variety has particularly stood out.

 

He says: “Elgar has given us both our best and worse yields, so I think there are much bigger problems around than the variety.”

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