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Oilseed Rape Pod Sealant Vital to Maximise Yields – Farmers Guide – Neville Styles

Spraying pod sealants on oilseed crops this season and the timing of the application is key to maximising gross margin potential and providing a valuable insurance against seed losses ...

Hutchinsons agronomist Neville Styles has been recommending a pod sealant for his rape growers for some years now and believes that this could be the answer to protecting yield, particularly those with variable stage maturity and ripening.

“Oilseed rape crops will compensate in ways that mean the yield is not as poor as it might have been, but it’s all about protecting yield and once the pods have formed it’s crucial that seed loss from shelling out is avoided,” he says.

When the majority of the pods have grown to full size, but are still green and pliable, Mr Styles applies a unique latex polymer sealant called Zip-Pod from De Sangosse, which binds onto the pods, preventing shatter and giving effective protection for up to 12 weeks. In trials Zip-Pod has been shown to give a potential average yield benefit of 18 per cent, across a range of conditions.

“It’s important to apply the product at a growth stage which reflects the majority of the field,” he advises. “That can be difficult to assess, but it’s important that you don’t apply the product overly early or too late. If the product goes on too early, then further growth can break the polymer seal and of course too late, will not have the desired effect once ripening and senescence occurs.”

Zip-Pod can be applied at a rate of 1.0-litres/ha in 100-250 litres of water as a medium quality spray and can be co-applied with a variety of desiccants. Optimum water rate has been shown to be 100-litres/ha.

Mr Styles has had experience of using pod sealants for many years and applies them as a matter of course and also on crops that do not display any variability or growth issues. He is confident that his approach works, as his growers have consistently found less volunteer rape appearing in stubbles following applications of Zip-Pod.

“I see pod sealants now as an important insurance policy,” he continues. “Having invested in the crop for so many months, to see it lose yield – which is preventable – is not necessary and I know my growers are happy with the extra investment. Application timing is usually around mid-late June and the aim is to hit as many full-sized pods as possible (GS 82-83), but no later than GS 89.”

Mr Styles’ experience with pod sealants also extends to field beans, where a similar effect has been observed post-harvest, where volunteer numbers have been significantly reduced following an application.

“The principle is just the same for beans,” he concludes. “At the end of the day it’s all about getting more crop into the barn and Zip-Pod is a very effective tool in ensuring that.”

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