YEN benchmarking success for iOSR growers
Marginal gains from small tweaks at every stage of the oilseed rape management could see a step change in yields and profitability, if growers can move closer to the crops’ yield potential, according to Sarah Kendall of ADAS.
She believes the Yield Enhancement Network that has focussed attention and driven improvements in precision cereal crop agronomy could have as much, if not more, of an impact in OSR.
“The aim is to achieve a higher proportion of the potential of any individual field or situation,” she enthuses.
“Benchmarking with YEN offers the chance to share knowledge and experience between growers, where all can benefit. It’s about understanding the resources available, how it can be captured by the crop in the field, and how that can be converted into yield.”
Core to the concept is crop recording and analysis, to provide a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the crop’s performance. By targeting results as a percentage of the crops’ potential, rather than yield per se, it builds a picture of key aspects of efficiency, and what growers need to do differently to improve, she suggests.
Whilst growers involved in YEN record key growth stages and input timings through the season, it is the whole crop sample and seed analysis that gives the components of yield - with the important physiological assets and their implications on yield.
The Oilseed YEN report contains data for more than 60+ crop metrics, which is extremely valuable to the farmer in helping them to understand where future attention should be focussed.
For example, it has been calculated that OSR, potentially, has the capability to intercept 70% of available sunlight – which could generate the yield potential of 12 t/ha.
“To reach the potential agronomic and breeding progress is required, such as reduced reflectance of light by flowers and prolonging the green canopy for longer can all move the plant towards maximum performance,” she advised.
“But we also need to look at all the other factors to understand what is limiting a crop’s potential in any situation, such as root development, fertility or moisture availability, for example."
“YEN develops a vast amount of data that can help individual growers involved to pinpoint areas to address and refine their agronomy,” highlighted Sarah. “And it gives the opportunity to test ideas at a field level, then to analyse results and yields to develop new techniques for the future.”
The iOSR group is looking to work with YEN to initiate new ideas and further develop work from the iOSR Focus Site on a grower’s farm scale for the coming season.