Oilseed rape is a valuable crop grown primarily for its oil-rich seeds, which are used to produce high-quality oil. Oilseed rape is also commonly used as an excellent break crop in cropping rotations.
The seeds of OSR typically contain approximately 35-50% oil. In England, the total area of OSR grown increased by 20% from 268 thousand hectares in 2021 to 323 thousand hectares in 2022 (DEFRA – Cereal and oilseed production in the UK 2022).
At this time of year, oilseed rape is typically at the GS6 (GS60 BBCH) flowering stage, with leaf development coming to an end due to warming temperatures in the spring. During this period, rapid growth occurs, and management decisions, including nutrient and pesticide applications, become critical.
Skippy Scout can assist with these decisions, providing instant and detailed information on the crop’s health and growth stage, leaving growers in a better position to make informed decisions.
Image: Skippy Scout – Scout point indicating GS6 (Flowering)
Image: AHDB Principle Growth Stages (BBCH System)
One significant disease affecting oilseed rape during the flowering stage is Sclerotinia, caused by the fungal pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, which can significantly impact yield and quality.
The infection cycle of OSR with Sclerotinia requires the presence of Sclerotinia’s inoculum, warm and humid weather conditions, and for the crop to be in flower. The disease can cause white stem lesions and black sclerotia within the stem cavity, which can cut off the food and water supply to the canopy. Entire plants can be lost in extreme cases, though crops in the UK are usually affected less severely than crops in other parts of Europe.
That being said, fungicide timing is crucial for good control of Sclerotinia, and Skippy Scout can help farmers and agronomists to:
- Identify disease quickly – 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.
- 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 (example in the image below, which indicates a flowering ratio of nearly 50%.)
50% flowering is the optimum Sclerotinia fungicide timing for maximum efficacy.
By monitoring your OSR flower development with Skippy Scout’s flowering ratio metric, you can determine the optimal Sclerotinia spray timing. 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%.
Skippy Scout provides detailed reports with information on flowering ratios and Green Area Index, 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 enough to provide up-to-date and dependable data.
Skippy ensures better protection on-demand, by providing a fast, accurate view of your crops.