Ground Preparation for Oilseed Rape
Oilseed Rape is a tiny black seed, which we must ensure it gets good contact with fertile soil when sown otherwise it will fail to germinate. We normally sub soil the ground ( we use a machine which will break up any compacted ground ). OSR hates hard compacted ground and for the first 90 days of it’s growing season ,it will try to establish deep roots. Any compaction in the ground will prevent the new plant from putting down strong roots.
If the small seed finds itself in a well tilled sedbed with no compaction it should quickly get established and put down strong roots. We normally just tilled the ground after subsoiling with a set of heavy discs in order to break down any lumps and produce a nice fine seedbeed.
Sowing Oilseed Rape
Our Horsch Simba drill sows the tiny seed into the ground. The seed drill we use is designed for ECO Till techniques, a system whereby we till only the top few inches of the ground and avoid deep ploughing in an attempt to keep the natural nutriants and not plough them down. We normally try to sow in the last week of August so the crop can get established before winter. By late November the crop will appear very healthy and have a strong root developed.
Over the winter the crop will suffer from extreme weather and pigeon attack. By February it will look much worse than it did back in November but hopefully those strong roots will help it recover quickly.
Oilseed Rape in Spring
After the hardship of the winter the crop will begin to recover in late February and will need fertiliser to support the new growth. It will grow quickly after recieving two applications of nitrogen. By early May the crop will start to flower and produce fields of yellow flowers which are associated with OSR.
Summer and Harvesting
As the month of April proceeds the crop will come into full flower and then start to form the pods which will holdthe small black seeds. As July approaches the pods become brown and the seed changes from green to black in colour. By late July the crop should be ready to harvest with our combine harvester. The small black seed is harvested , dried and stored for cold pressing later.