The most innovative addition to the new, two-region HGCA Recommended List of winter oilseed rape varieties unveiled this week is undoubtedly the first of a new generation of low biomass hybrids providing UK growers with the highest levels of lodging resistance and management ease.
The first and only semi-dwarf to be included on both the East & West and North region lists, DK Secure is also the only new variety to achieve UK-wide Recommendation this year.
The latest development from the country’s leading oilseed rape breeder, DEKALB, it brings together the best of the low biomass and hybrid breeding programmes responsible for today’s two most widely grown varieties, Castille and Excalibur.
DK Secure boasts the highest lodging resistance and stem stiffness of any Recommended variety ever, together with a familiar Castille-like crop height, balancing ease of management with effective weed competition.
“As a low biomass variety that’s not too short, we see DK Secure as the natural successor to Castille in consistency, reliability and manageability,” says DEKALB breeder, Matthew Clarke. “It will do much to minimise yield losses from lodging and harvesting while maximising direct combining speeds for the most timely and efficient harvest.
“Like the first-ever low biomass rape, Canberra, it has a consistently high though not List-topping output,” he explains. “However, it more than makes-up for this with its all-round value. Not least with levels of stem canker and light leaf spot resistance that give it the highest untreated to treated output ratio of any Recommended variety for the greatest security.”
Matthew Clarke points out that DK Secure has a far more prostrate growth habit than conventional pure-lines or hybrids which may take a little getting used to. He considers the variety best suited to the main August to mid-September drilling window, recommends careful seed rate planning to give a target spring population of 35-40 plants/m2, and advises particular attention to early weed control for the best results.
Flowering late enough to avoid the risk of frost, even in the north, he stresses its medium maturity ensures good seed fill without any harvest delay.
“As the first in a substantial pipeline of low biomass hybrids combining market-leading manageability and output coming out of our breeding programme, DK Secure is a timely innovation on the new look Recommended List,” he adds. “Sadly, though, the credibility of the two-region List has been seriously compromised from the outset by the omission from UK-wide Recommendation of the pure-line variety that tops the HGCA four year dataset for both treated and untreated UK gross output – Catana. To continue to recommend this variety only for the North when it so clearly offers such value to growers across the country is perverse to say the least.”
John Miles is the BASIS Barrie Orme Shield Winner 2008
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