Despite one of the most testing seasons for years Sesame looks set to build on its reputation for delivering reliable results for oilseed rape growers across the country.
Wet and windy weather for much of the spring and summer tested many OSR varieties to the limit and beyond. But early results from trials and commercial crops show Sesame, bred by LSPB, is more than holding its own.
Sesame has beaten 34 other varieties to claim the top seed yield over the first four NIAB TAG trials to be harvested this year, scoring 114% of the overall trials' mean yield of 3.72t/ha. That's a full 4% ahead of its nearest rival, adding weight to this conventional variety's joint highest yielding score of 106 on the 2012/13 Recommended List.
"Sesame has performed exceptionally well in what is a low-yielding year for oilseed rape,' says NIAB TAG's Simon Kightley. "I have been a fan since I first saw it in National List trials when it produced some huge yields. It has settled back a bit since then but now looks to be pumping out consistently good yields, performing well year after year.'
The "good-looking' variety is almost hybrid-like in its vigour but has stood well this year, he adds. "It has come through a difficult season with flying colours.'
National on-farm OSR yields appear to be well down on last year's 3.9t/ha average, the highest ever recorded. Despite this, almost 160ha of Sesame at Antony Read's Barr Farm, near Horncastle is estimated to have produced between 3.1t/ha and as high as 3.7t/ha, a good result for the year.
"We normally get 5t/ha but OSR yields in this area are nothing to write home about this harvest – the wet weather during flowering didn't help,' says Mr Read. "But despite the rain all the Sesame stood up and was easy to combine.'
In a catchy, late harvest that has proved to be a real benefit, and, given the circumstances, he's pleased with the overall performance. "I'll certainly be growing it again this autumn,' says Mr Read.
Other on-farm results are keenly awaited. LSPB managing director Theo Labuda says: "It seems Sesame is heading for a good year on trials and on farm. It is a stiff variety that stands well, which has proved a boon this year. Its good disease resistance has also undoubtedly helped to deliver another strong performance.
"Based on these early results Sesame is again confirming its position as a leading UK variety and we are confident that it will feature strongly in farmers' sowing plans over the next few weeks.'
Updates on the performance of all LSPB varieties will be available at lspb.eu as harvest progresses.
Further details of NIAB TAG results are available for members on the organisation's website (www.niab.com). Non-members can apply for membership on the same site.