The cultivation of winter oilseed rape is an obligatory element of crop rotation on many farms. However, in recent years, mainly due to weather conditions and violent weather phenomena, the profitability of this cultivation has significantly decreased. At the same time, the development of engineering and biotechnology allowed for the development of technologies and solutions, thanks to which it is possible not only to reduce the influence of the weather, but also to reduce inputs with an increase in yields.
On the one hand, we have the traditional technology of rapeseed cultivation, i.e. the one in which the plow is an essential element. On the other hand, strip tillage. It consists in loosening only the soil strips in which the plants will be sown.
When choosing strip tillage, we can omit the activities and costs related to disking, plowing and harrowing. All treatments are carried out during sowing. The choice of this rape cultivation technology significantly reduces the number of journeys, working time and expenses.
The selection of a variety is an individual matter, determined by soil and weather factors. After all, we expect different frost resistance from crops in the southern part of the country, and different in northern Poland. However, first of all, attention should be paid to the yielding potential, resistance to unfavorable weather conditions, diseases (if we have a problem with syphilis or dry rot, we should opt for special varieties) and the location. It is very important to use seed treatments that protect the small plant immediately after emergence.
It will take place parallel to sowing at 2 depths. The amount and type of fertilizers used are selected on the basis of soil analyzes. After taking these data into account, for each ton of expected yield, we must provide 25-34 kg of P2O5, 60-70 kg of K2O and 18-22 kg of sulfur. In the cultivation of rapeseed, we pay special attention to the use of the latter substance.
If you are looking for more information on the fertilization of oilseed rape, we encourage you to read the article Fertilizing winter oilseed rape, which you can also find on our blog.
The sowing date is different for each part of the country. We start them the earliest - in the first half of August - in northern Poland. Gradually descending south, this date will be later and later - until August 25 in Małopolska and Podkarpacie. Sowing too early will expose us to the need for growth regulators and plant overgrowth, which, if too developed, may not survive the winter.
The sowing density depends on the type of soil, its preparation and the technology of rape cultivation. Our goal is to achieve a plant density of 38-35 plants per square meter in the spring. The seeding itself takes place at a depth of 1.5-2.5 cm, unless we use soil herbicides - then it can be increased to 3.5 cm.
After emergence, we should focus on managing the field in such a way that allows the plants in optimal condition and habit to enter the winter dormancy phase. We mean healthy plants, free from diseases, free from weed competition and provided with the necessary microelements. We must remember that the rapeseed harvest is "programmed" in the fall and all shortcomings at this stage will result in a reduction in the harvest.
You can read more about sowing oilseed rape in our article Sowing winter oilseed rape - dates, sowing depth.
We can start the protection of rapeseed immediately after sowing. This is the most effective form of dealing with weeds. The weather conditions do not always allow it. Then, herbicide treatments are carried out up to 4-6 leaves at the latest, when the weeds are most sensitive. At this point, it should be noted whether the used plant protection products combat self-seeding of crops. If not, use graminicide. The selection of the agent should always be based on the history of a given field, the level and type of weed infestation - only then will we be able to select the appropriate doses of fertilizers per kg ha.
There are two things you should pay attention to with fungicide treatment. First, the number of treatments and their frequency must be adjusted to the prevailing conditions. When the weather is good and the plants show no sign of infection, a preventive procedure can be performed. If, on the other hand, there are outbreaks of disease on the plants, a repetition of the action should be considered. An insecticide treatment may be necessary. The selection of measures should be based on the history of the field and the severity of diseases and pests.
In order to ensure the optimal habit and condition, it is necessary to supply plants with microelements. From 1 ton of seeds and an appropriate amount of straw, winter oilseed rape takes 60-120g of B and Cu, 10-40g of Cu, 50-100g of Mn, 1-2g of Mo, 160-180g of Zn, 260g of Fe. As you can see, rapeseed is not only Boron - you should remember about all the micronutrients it contains. The deficiency of only one of them can significantly reduce the yield.
Since we are striving to reduce costs in our oilseed rape cultivation, including the reduction of the number of trips into the field, it is worth mentioning the possibility of using all three elements simultaneously, which appeared due to the development of the market. Previously, this was not possible due to the pH of the working fluid. There are products available on the market which, in addition to all the above-mentioned microelements, contain a pH stabilizer in the working liquid, which allows them to be used together with insecticides and fungicides.
An important element that is often overlooked in the cultivation of winter oilseed rape is the assessment of overwintering. It may determine the further management of the crop.
The first step in the cultivation of oilseed rape is to provide adequate nutrition, both with nitrogen and microelements. We provide nitrogen in the amount of 50-60 kg for each ton of expected yield. However, a single dose should not exceed 100 kg. Soil fertilization must be supplemented with sulfur. Another element of spring nutrition is the supplementation of microelements. The optimal solution will be the use of micronutrients in tandem with fungicide treatments. Depending on the severity of the disease, they should be repeated two or three times. Similarly to fungicide treatments, one should remember about insecticides. It is worthwhile to frequently inspect plantations and perform appropriate treatments when the harmfulness threshold is exceeded.
In theory, weed control is behind us. However, practice does not always go hand in hand with theory. Therefore, it is necessary to verify the effects of weed control measures applied in the fall and, if necessary, to apply a herbicide treatment.
It is definitely less popular than winter oilseed rape. Unfortunately, sometimes the winter form, due to severe frosts and the lack of snow cover, freezes. The choice of spring rape is then almost a necessity due to the herbicides used in autumn. In such a case, cultivation and soil preparation boils down to cultivating with a post-harvest aggregate to cover the remains of the winter form, which may be a source of infection.
The sowing date is at the turn of March and April. Fertilization is reduced to the application of 80 kg of nitrogen in one dose or 120 kg in two doses. The sowing rate should be between 4-5 kg/ha. In the case of spring rape, we usually perform one herbicide treatment and one supplementary treatment with microelements.