An innovative web site gives farmers the opportunity to look at plots of the new oilseed rape variety Avatar and literally 'watch it grow' on 20 farms across the main oilseed rape regions of England.
"We want to show farmers exactly what is happening on demonstration plots of Avatar, the leading HGCA oilseed rape candidate hybrid for the east and west region,' explains Tom Nickerson of Ebbage Seeds, marketing agent for breeders LSPB. "We would like potential growers to make their own decision with the help of farmers in their area who are already growing the variety.
"The web site can be found at www.watchitgrow.co.uk and farmers, agronomists or others interested in Avatar can simply click on the red dots on the map of England. Then click 'more information' and search the photos and drilling information to get a feel of how it is performing in each area.'
"We are confident that our very open approach to how our new variety is performing will pay off as Avatar is currently showing the best gross output figures of all candidates based on its high seed yield, combined with one of the highest oil contents of candidates.'
Avatar has good agronomic qualities with good stem stiffness medium height and mid to early maturity. It has good disease resistance for Light leaf spot Stem canker plus good autumn vigour – comparable to current leading varieties – and similar spring vigour and flowering time.
"The other key point is that Avatar is early maturing – important to spread the harvest load. This makes it ideal for the big milling wheat growers who can get their oilseed rape into the shed to be ready for their wheat. This is something that we hope will be seen as it happens on the web site when we reach next year's harvest,' adds Mr Nickerson.