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Establishing oilseed successfully with starter fertiliser

26 July 2021

The idea of a starter fertiliser for oilseed is to improve establishment and get the crop up and away as quickly as possible. It could be tempting to wait until the crop is up and established before applying fertiliser but this could lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy - if you haven’t set the crop up with the best chance from the off, you can’t expect it to establish well. So for application timing, fertiliser should be placed if possible or applied soon after drilling to give the crop the best chance to establish. Trials have shown that placing fertiliser can increase yields by around 0.2t/ha; which is significant with recent pricing for oilseed.

An NPK product is ideal as a starter fertiliser. We need phosphorus (P) for root and shoot development and potassium (K) also helps with root growth and water regulation; which could be very helpful if we hit a dry spell after drilling. By ensuring there is enough K for optimal stomatal opening and closing, the plant will be better placed to cope with drier conditions.

The rate of nitrogen applied can differ depending on whether you plan on placing or broadcasting the fertiliser, but you’re looking at 25-30kgN/ha at this timing. Any fertiliser should be applied before the 15th of September, to comply with nitrates regulations.
Trials work has also shown that using an NPKS in the autumn can help with overwinter survival rates too with 90-100% survival when compared to an NS grade at around 38% survival. Work has shown that potassium acts like an “anti-freeze” in the winter too by lowering the cell’s sap freezing point and preventing frost damage.

Therefore when thinking of all those points a perfect grade is YaraMila New 18's + S (18-6-11 + 2.5% S) to give your oilseed crop the best chance this autumn.

Read more about improving oilseed rape establishment

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