The RL winter oilseed rape candidates, Murray and Vegas, are showing top results in the AHDB trials this season and are currently 2nd equal and 3rd in gross output. Breeders LSPB (LS Plant Breeding Ltd) wanted to complement the RL trials and look at on farm performance as well, so they set up a series of strip trials with selected growers.

Ben Cannon, who farms with his family at Hyde Hall Farm, near Buntingford in North Hertfordshire, grew LSPB’s RL candidate Murray in strip trials alongside a leading conventional variety.

And in Cambridgeshire, Chris Gemmill at Law Farming’s Chrishall Grange, host of this year’s Cereals event, had a strip trial of Vegas as part of his policy to look at new varieties alongside established ones.

“Vegas was vigorous in early spring with good canopy growth – and it stayed pretty clean without a big fungicide programme – it was one of the cleaner varieties on the farm.

“At harvest, the Vegas stood out as high yielding and, though it is a tallish variety, there were no harvesting issues. As it was a strip trial, I can’t pick out an exact yield for the Vegas crop. However, it yielded approximately 4.5t/ha – which is above the field average of 4.35t/ha.”

Ben Cannon in Hertfordshire had an equally positive experience with Murray which was in a strip trial with a leading conventional variety.

“All our rape got off to a good start and looked good – and as the season progressed, I noticed that the Murray in particular podded up well.

“It was easy to harvest and, while this was not a statistically vigorous yield trial, I would say the Murray was a good 0.5t/ha over the conventional variety in the same field.”

Chris Guest, LSPB managing director, adds that the experience of Ben and Chris and other growers underlines the performance of Murray and Vegas: “As the varieties came through our breeders trials we could see that they were very high yielding with the benefit of the new RlmS Phoma resistance.

“We also saw their good Light Leaf spot scores and that they were very vigorous – particularly in the spring.

“We are now pleased to see this promise fulfilled in the official RL trials results this season, and in our practical on farm strip trials.”

Chris Gemmill
Ben Cannon