BASF Agricultural Solutions UK

OSR State of the Nation Survey 2019: The Results

OSR at a glance.

OSR can be a challenging and unpredictable crop to grow, with establishment being the biggest challenge for many growers. The drought conditions experienced at establishment in autumn 2018, together with unprecedented cabbage stem flea beetle populations resulted in loss of crop area in both autumn and spring. Despite this, many growers still reported WOSR to be their most profitable break crop.

n = 367

  • >33% of growers reported moderate or severe pressure from CSFB in autumn 2018 (compared to 13% in 2017)
  • 61% of growers say OSR is their most profitable break crop.
  • 3.8t/haaverage yield in harvest 2018

What's really going on?

With the outlook for winter oilseed rape seemingly uncertain, we wanted to understand the challenges farmers are facing, what has changed for the crop and any strategies that they have identified which are working for them.

OSR Crop area 2018

How many hectares of OSR did you plant in 2018?

  • 0-29ha - 27%
  • 30-59ha - 30%
  • 60-100ha - 17%
  • 100+ha - 22%
  • No OSR - 4%

367 growers, 29,545 ha OSR, Average 80ha

Area, by OSR type

What area of the following types of WOSR have you planted in autumn 2018?

  • Hybrid seed - 38%
  • Certified OP seed - 26%
  • Farm savd seed - 16%
  • Clearfield hybrid seed - 14%
  • HEAR hybrid seed - 3%
  • HOLL hybrid seed - 2%
  • Clubroot hybrid seed - 1%

 EastMidlands & NorthScotlandSouth
Farm saved seed13521975116588
Certified OP seed160225954211178
Hybrid seed152954679131406
Clearfield hybrid seed1059131501168
Clubroot hybrid seed0857920
HEAR hybrid seed21187321200
HOLL hybrid seed16429517104

WOSR – Frequency in rotation

Approximately, how frequently do you grow WOSR in the rotation?

Two thirds of growers are using a 1 in 4-5 rotation

 EastMidlands & NorthScotlandSouthAll Regions
1 in 38291856
1 in 42064622126
1 in 525381413109
1 in 615226256
1 in 7574219
South and Midlands tend to have shorter rotations
Scotland has longer rotations

Factors influencing variety choice

  • 61% growers rate autumn vigour as the most important factor
  • Only 18% rate yield as the most important
  • Regardless of seed type, every grower interviewed included autumn vigour in their top 3 most important factors in variety choice
  • Hybrid growers (any type) value pod shatter resistance over disease resistance
  • Added value traits rank as highly important amongst farmers exclusively growing hybrids (any type)

Variety choice buying factors

What are the 3 MOST important factors to you when making your WOSR variety choice?
Autumn vigour1.9
Pod shatter resistance0.7
Oil content0.4
LLS resistance0.4
Phoma resistance0.3
Clearfield tolerance0.3
Spring vigour0.2
Oil profile (e.g. HOLL)0.1
TuYV resistance0
Average calculated from ranking
Rank 1=3, Rank 2=2, Rank 3 =1 No rank =0

OSR Losses

  • An average of 8% of WOSR crop was lost in autumn 2018, with autumn establishment failure being higher amongst FSS users than any other variety type
  • There was significantly higher CSFB pressure in autumn 2018, with >1/3 growers reporting severe pressure compared to 13% in 2017
  • 80% of growers in the south reported moderate-severe pressure

Grower experience with CSFB at establishment

  • "Early drilled crops quick to establish mainly but some carrying big larval burden now."
  • "I feel the more stubble left standing, the less damage you get."
  • "The pressure was exaggerated by the very slow growth and lack of vigour from such a dry time"
  • "If the crop was slow to get away they caused more problems, conserving moisture and higer fertility certainly helped"
  • "Longer the stubble, the fewer beetles"
  • "Seed beds are most important to keep right"
  • "Less of an issue since using starter fertiliser and ensuring seedbed consolidation is better"

CSFB & crop loss

Have you suffered from cabbage stem flea beetle pressure in the last 2 years, even if it hasn't resulted in crop loss?


 No PressureMild Moderate PressureSevere Pressure
Harvest 201814%38%34%12%
Harvest 201912%29%25%32%


 No PressureMild PressureModerate PressureSevere Pressure
Midlands & North11%30%25%32%
Grand Total12%29%25%32%

Strategies to minimise loss from CSFB in autumn

Have you tried or considered any of these strategies to help minimise your risk of cabbage stem flea beetle damage in the autumn?

Rating 1-5 relates to perceived success rate

  • 66% - Early drilling (before mid August) perceived success 3.7
  • 45% - Higher seed rates perceived success 3.5
  • 44% - Increased fertiliser perceived success 3.5
  • 42% - Improved seed beds perceived success 3.6
  • 42% - Spraying insecticides at night perceived success 3.0
  • 38% - Increased use of hybrid seedsPerceived success 3.2
  • 37% - Companion cropping perceived success 2.4
  • 34% - Increased use of farm saved seed perceived success 3.2
  • 31% - Late drilling (September) perceived success 2.9
  • 21% - Increased slug control perceived success 3.0
  • 19% - Increased use of certified OP seed perceived success 2.9
  • 13% - Change of establishment method perceived success 3.1

WOSR Yields over last 3 years

  • On average, yields have decreased slightly over last 3 years. Scotland was the only region to see a trend towards improved yields. Possibly because it has been less affected by CSFB
  • Regardless of variety type or region, yields were slightly higher in harvest 2017 compared to 2016 or 2018
  • Yield varies more by region than it does by variety type

 EastMidlands & NorthScotlandSouthGrand Total
Average yield t/ha

Erucic acid penalties

"6% of growers surveyed have received an erucic acid penalty in the last 3 years"

Reasons for planting Clearfield®

  • 56% - Management of brassica weeds
  • 18% - Management of volunteers to remove potential sources of erucic acid
  • 16% - Other
  • 6% - Management of volunteers for opimim canopy
  • 4% - Tolerance to SU herbicides used in previous crop

  • "56% of Clearfield growers have chosen the system for Brassica weed control, with a further 18% valuing the system for removal of sources of erucic acid"
  • "Delay herbicide applications until after a viable crop has been established"
  • "Clearfield reduces risk"
  • "May use companion cropping and so increase Clearfield varieties to help with flea beetle pressure"

Establishment methods versus CSFB

Establishment methods used in Autumn 2018

 Severe PressureModerate PressureMild PressureNo Pressure
Direct Drill1337357
Precious Drill313214
No Pressure2322
Wide (~50cm) rows4230

  • 56% growers used a min-til approach to establishment
  • Growers who had autocast seed were more likely to have experienced severe pressure from CSFB
  • >85 of growers who reported no pressure used a no/min-til approach

Approach to targeting diseases

Routinely apply68%47%55%72%
Sometimes apply28%44%41%25%
Don’t apply7%9%4%4%
 Phoma SprayLLS Autumn SprayLLS Spring SpraySclerotinia

"74% growers using a post-emergence herbicide"

Intentions for 2019

Early (January) cropping intentions for autumn 2019

  • 25% plan to not plant WOSR In autumn 2019
  • 3.5% plan to reduce their area
  • 24% plan to maintain their area
  • 5% plan to increase
  • Remainder did not answer

Grower comments on 2019 intentions

  • "We shall be up on area due to rotation but will use increased certified seed to help reduce erucic acid or test farm saved seed."
  • "Hybrid have out-yielded conventional OSR here for the past four years and gross margins are better in hybrid OSR"
  • "Stretch rotation & keep on better soils"
  • "Hybrid vigour important to combat mainly ineffective sprays against beetle attack"
  • "We will be back to a normal rotation and hopefully establish all of the intended area, assuming we have moisture in the soil in August"
  • "Going with more hybrids for vigour"

How does 2019 compare?

The results from the 2018 edition of the State of the Nation survey are still available for you to view.

See the 2018 results

The BASF OSR Establishment Risk Share Programme

We understand that growing OSR can be challenging. At BASF, we want to share some of the burden with you. So, we’re offering Risk Share Programmes on all InVigor hybrid seed sold this autumn.

Find out more

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