Gold of pleasure oil contains a range of essential fatty acids, which are known to reduce the cholesterol level in blood as well as being good for the heart and cardiovascular health. Because of its beneficial health effects, it may become an important food oil for the future.
Only a few hundred hectares are being grown in the UK presently, but it is thought that requirements for the oil could support up to 1,000 ha of the crop. Average yields are in the range of 2.5 – 3t/ha.
Sowing dates range from the end March to early May, with optimum sowing once the soil has warmed to 10 deg C. Trials have shown no advantage to winter sowing, except an earlier harvest. Autumn sown crops are less competitive against weeds and more susceptible to disease.
Harvest takes place between mid-August and early September, depending on drilling date. The crop is less susceptible to pod shatter and seed loss than oilseed rape and can stand undamaged for up to 6 weeks following maturity. However to ensure quality does not suffer it is advisable to harvest as soon as possible. It may be necessary to desiccate before harvesting, which can be carried out using a conventional combine.
Trials suggest the crop requires 75- 120kg/ha nitrogen, which is best applied as half in the seedbed, with the remainder going on at the four-leaf stage. The crop is unresponsive to applications of phosphate or potash; therefore maintenance applications will be sufficient.
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