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Care needed with post-OSR cultivation


Ongoing lack of rain will make growers choice of post-OSR cultivation techniques more important than ever, if long-term volunteer problems are to be avoided.

Burying OSR seed too early can fail to break its dormancy, leaving growers to cope with sporadic volunteers for over five years, a leading independent agronomist warns.

Research has shown that OSR seed on the surface needs at least 5mm of rain to germinate, explains Richard Overthrow, agronomist at NIAB TAG. Large parts of the country havent had this amount of rainfall, especially in the South.

Despite TAG trials conducted over a decade ago which supported findings from Rothamsted Research, growers are often tempted to cultivate following consistent dry weather. But if the seed is buried without at least starting the germination process, it can lay dormant for five years or more, points out Mr Overthrow.

Short rotations are those most likely to suffer from problems arising from OSR volunteers, he explains. Growers are best off delaying cultivations until sufficient rain has fallen; a simple yet effective management technique. It is easy to spot when the time is right as seeds will be germinating on the soil surface.

Mr Overthrow says getting rid of volunteers is not just a matter of pride for the grower. OSR volunteers can carry diseases through to following crops, such as damping off diseases and alternaria, as well as becoming readily infected with other diseases due to having no seed treatment.

Part of The NIAB Group, TAG is the UKs largest independent agronomy service, with influence across more than 20% of the UKs arable area. TAG provides impartial agronomic information across a range of crop types, cultivations, spray technology, environmentalschemes and agronomic inputs, using information drawn from over 20 trial locations throughout England.

The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) is a pioneering plant science organisation based at the heart of the Cambridge science, technology and university communities and a thriving UK agricultural industry. It has an internationally recognised reputation for independence, innovation and integrity and is ideally placed to meet the industrys current and future research and information needs. Founded in 1919, NIAB has over 90 years experience in the agricultural and food sectors in crop research, trialling and knowledge transfer.

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