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When growing oilseed rape it is essential to implement a balanced crop nutrition strategy including major, secondary and micro nutrients to obtain the best from your crop in terms of yield, quality and environmental impact.
Compared to many other arable crops such as cereals, oilseed rape is distinguished by a high demand for nutrients which results in a significant mobilisation of the nutrients. However, oilseed rape returns most of these nutrients to the soil and so is an excellent preceding crop in a rotation.
Nitrogen has been by far the most widely studied nutrient of oilseed rape, taking into account its major role in yield, the significant cost of nitrogenous fertilizing in the variable costs of oilseed rape, and the environmental impacts of oilseed rape: water quality (nitrates), air quality (ammonia), greenhouse gas emissions (nitrous oxide) and energy consumption.
Sulphur has also been the subject of much research, considering oilseed rape’s great demand for it and the risk of significant loss of yield where it is deficient; as well as its role in seed and oil-cake quality. More recently, the recurrent phosphorous deficiency in various European countries (France, Germany and United Kingdom) has placed base fertilization back on the agenda.
Phosphate and potassium also need to be considered and without being alarmist, it is legitimate to wonder once more about the three-fold reduction in use throughout Europe (3.1 for phosphorous and 2.7 for potash) in the space of 40 years (source: IFA) while the use of alternative organic waste resources have not increased in the same proportions and are also often unevenly distributed.
Finally, a balanced oilseed rape nutrition requires the monitoring of other elements: mainly magnesium, boron and molybdenum.
View or download the Nutrition of Oilseed Rape Brochure as a PDF (2,094 KB).