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Oilseed rape is a seed oil crop that offers significant value due to its high oil content of 35-50% and its usefulness as a break crop in crop rotation. In addition, during this time of year, OSR is flowering in full bloom and the crop experiences rapid growth, making decisions regarding nutrient and pesticide applications particularly crucial.

Image: Drone on landing pad next to OSR field at Harehope Farm, Northumberland

In our last email we discussed how Sclerotinia (a significant fungal disease) affects OSR during flowering.

Light leaf spot is a disease that can also negatively impact OSR yields, with symptoms potentially appearing on leaves, flowers, stems, and pods. Infection may lead to leaf loss or distortion, stunted growth, and pod shatter, with yield losses of up to 1t/ha possible if fungicides aren’t applied. The disease tends to occur in specific patches, so monitoring of the entire field is necessary to assess its severity. A tool like Skippy Scout can facilitate a detailed analysis of the entire field. During flowering, fungicides used to treat Sclerotinia can also have an impact on light leaf spot if it is present.

Fungicide timing is crucial for good control over diseases, and Skippy Scout can help farmers and agronomists to:

  • Identify & Monitor disease – Skippy produces low-level, high-res imagery, aided by accompanying crop reports which display statistics such as percentage crop cover, unhealthy crop, and yellow leaves. These statistics, as well as identifying the presence of disease will allow you to monitor its development over time throughout the crop’s growth stages.

  • Accurately time fungicide sprays – The reports produced by Skippy Scout show flowering ratio percentage across the whole field as an average, and at individual scout points.

By monitoring your OSR flower development with Skippy Scout’s flowering ratio metric, you can determine the optimal fungicide spray timing (50% flowering ratio). Observe changes in flowering ratio over time, for instance, from 17% to 45% within a week. With this data, you can predict the appropriate time to spray and ensure that it is done promptly when the flowering ratio approaches 50%.

Image: Skippy Scout reportĀ average field stats showing an increase in flowering ratio since last scout

Skippy Scout generates reports that include a Green Area Index (GAI) measurement, which is the ratio of green leaf and stem area to the ground area on which the crop is growing. Measuring the GAI can aid in managing the canopy and targeting certain areas with fungicides and plant growth regulators.

The optimal time to apply plant growth regulator (PGR) is typically between the late green bud and mid-flowering stage, with earlier application being preferred for varieties with a higher risk of lodging. Some PGRs also have fungicidal properties, so timing must also account for the need to control diseases. If the canopy growth is suboptimal, fungicide products without PGR activity should be considered. The ideal GAI at the flowering stage (GS60) is 3.5.

Image: Skippy Scout report showing stats such as GAI & Flowering Ratio

Skippy Scout provides detailed reports enabling growers to make better decisions to increase yields, saving time and money. With the assistance of Skippy Scout, growers can better manage their oilseed rape crops, bolstering their potential to reach optimal yields and quality.

Skippy Scout is a dependable and efficient tool for managing OSR, surpassing the reliability of satellites which due to various factors such as cloud cover, image resolution and the quickly changing nature of flowering, are not dependable or frequent enough to provide up-to-date and dependable data.

Skippy ensures better protection on-demand, by providing a fast, accurate view of your crops.

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