With oilseed rape from under pressure from lowered prices and disease pressure, exacerbated by reduced agrochemical choices, the crop has to work hard to maintain its position in rotations this autumn.
“That is a major reason why we have increasingly focused our development work on hybrid varieties,” says Theo Labuda, Managing Director of LS Plant Breeders (LSPB).
“We currently have Wembley high on the East-West region AHDB Recommended List with a gross output of 109, just below the top conventional variety.
“However, we maintain that hybrids also have advantages that are not always apparent from simply looking at a couple of percentage points yield difference on the RL.
“First, is the vigour all hybrids typically exhibit - both in autumn establishment - and in the spring when they tend to grow away irrespective of weather.
“Second, and as important, is their consistency in performance - if you take the variation in annual treated gross output over its four years of RL trials, Wembley only varies by a single percentage point between 108 and 109.
“This translates into a welcome security of year-on-year performance for Wembley growers compared to conventional varieties on the RL where the equivalent figure is an average of 6 percentage points variance in gross output over the same four years.
“Our breeder’s evaluations this season also show that the variety is again looking good in the field and, in particular, is showing low levels of light leaf spot infection in a season where this is the high pressure disease,” adds Theo Labuda.