DSV United Kingdom Ltd.

Compass points North

By Ben Wright

27 May 2011

Peter Gray of WN Lindsay is keen to see how the hybrid rape variety Compass performs this year. He has been impressed with the trials performance and has recommended a number of his growers to grow this variety this year.

Added to the HGCA List North Region in 2010/2011, Compass is now one of the top varieties grown in Scotland. It has an impressive gross output of 108% and a high oil content of 46.3%. It also has an 8 rating for resistance to lodging, stem stiffness and a 7 for autumn vigour.

“Already I have seen for myself that Compass shows excellent crop vigour, both in the autumn and in the spring. It has grown away strongly in the autumn and, despite suffering from a cold winter and significant pigeon damage, it has grown away really well. We have a real problem with pigeons this year, with a lot of snow and lack of food, they arrived in droves. But Compass has survived amazing well and is looking very good on all of my customers farms,” says Peter.

Peter comments that Compass has a reasonable resistance rating for Light Leaf Spot (6 rating), the main disease in the North and Scotland. “It is not the best, but when spring came around, there was little or no disease. My growers are looking for a variety with a combination of features - good disease resistance, good yields, good standing power, easy to manage and most important good vigour. Compass appears to tick all these boxes.”

Peter is a fan of hybrid rape varieties and thinks that DSV have come up with a few of the best hybrids on the market. “Some growers still grow conventionals, but I think these will be phased out in the future. Hybrids offer more vigour, leading to a better established crop as well the ability to survive the winter and grow away from the threat of pigeons.”

Farming near Stirling, Malcolm Snowie is growing Compass as his first oilseed rape crop for a number of years. “We grow wheat, oats and beans and this year we are trying out oilseed rape again. Normally entry for rape has been difficult as winter barley has not been successful on our heavy land. But I must say that the 70 acres of Compass we are growing this year look very well.”

Mr. Snowie is hoping for a good yield as is indicated by the HGCA List in the North. “Our crops were established by the plough, followed by power harrow and a second power harrow. We had a very difficult winter with temperatures down to minus 20°C, yet we saw no winter kill of Compass and it has continued to flourish. Some fields had pigeon damage and I was pleased to see that Compass had the vigour to grow away.”

   

Willie Wilson farms a few miles out of the city of Glasgow and, as he is the only farm growing rape in the vicinity, his fields are plagued by pigeons to an even greater extent than other more remote farming areas. He is trying out try Compass as it has a reputation for very good vigour as well as excellent yields and oil content.

“This is the first crop of winter oilseed rape that we have grown for 15 years. On the farm we aim to grow as much first wheat as we can, so are using rape, beans and oats as breaks. As a hybrid rape I was expecting vigorous growth to help establish the crop as well as providing the ability to grow away from pigeon grazing, which is a real problem on the farm. I haven’t been disappointed,” says Willie.

“Sowed the second week of August, Compass established well and went through the winter well, with a few gaps due to the pigeons. By the spring however Compass had filled the gaps and recovered well. Bearing in mind it has been quite a few years since I have grown winter rape, I have noticed that Compass has a very different plant structure - it branches out really well, is stiff strawed and stands well. It had many flowers, so hopefully it will yield well.”

In Willie Wilson’s view, Compass has been easy to grow but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and it will be at harvest when he will really be able to see how good it is.