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Read all the latest news from the agronomy services industry.

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Lyside OSR

Lyside OSR

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Category: Archive

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY VARIETY OF OILSEED RAPE A new variety of spring oilseed rape is now available in the UK and is being marketed as being much more environmentally friendly to grow than other material.

‘Lyside’ was bred in Denmark using classical breeding methods by repeatedly back crossing with the Scottish bred forage rape variety Hobson into spring rape, resulting in the flower colour changing from yellow to white.

It is a well known fact that pollen beetles are mainly attracted to yellow than other colours, which enables Lyside spring oilseed rape to be grown with much less insecticide during the flowering stage than normal yellow flowered crops, and can therefore justify the claim of being ‘a more environmentally friendly variety to grow’.

 Pearce Seeds, the marketing agents for Lyside in the UK, recognises that there is a concern by both farmers and the UK population as a whole, that bee populations have declined over the past few seasons and the use of insecticides in flowering crops could be a contributory factor and in so-doing, they decided to import a  quantity of seed for an evaluation of how the system would work under UK conditions.  It may even be possible to grow this variety organically for the cold-crush salad oil market.

 All oilseed crops are vulnerable in the seedling stage to flea beetle attack and autumn sown crops can be stunted by viruses. A campaign by environmentalists to have insecticidal seed treatment banned could mean farmers switching from autumn to spring sown crops - potentially increasing the size of the market for Lyside,  which could see the countryside changing from all yellow to a mix of white and yellow fields with a mixture of Linseed blue.


Because of its unique breeding, Lyside has much lower levels of bitter chemicals in the plant resulting in a much milder taste of the oil than the more conventional  varieties.  There may also be a demand for this type of oil as a “straight” for high end oils and dressings for the delicatessen market.

 Lyside has a yield similar to yellow flowered varieties so farmers will not be penalised for trying to encourage insect life.

 With the organic market in mind, a large scale experiment cum trial was set up in Denmark where the main crop of Lyside was mixed with a yellow flowering variety – this variety also being used throughout the headlands where it was employed as a ‘trapper’ and was drilled to a width of 8 meters.  The function of the yellow 8m border was to catch or trap pollen beetles and also cabbage seed weevils whilst the function of the 5% yellow flowering plants within the main crop was the second line of defence and catch the insects that flew over the 8m headlands.

Regular insect counts were made over a 7 day period and over varying widths throughout the border and main crops with the results proving to be extremely encouraging with the pollen beetle count being virtually 4:1 on the yellow flowers in the main crop and 2:1 for the cabbage seed weevil, so with the pollen beetle count being relatively low within the remaining 95% of the main crop with white flowers, the threshold was not exceeded and therefore spraying became unnecessary.

Ken Tuffin, Managing Director of Pearce Seeds said ‘this is yet another example of plant breeding technology offering opportunities in which we can reduce our reliance on chemicals and strengthen our long term commitment to environmental responsibility’.


Please contact us for more information:

Pearce Seeds LLP
Rosedown Farm
Marston Road

Tel: 01935 811 400
Fax: 01935 816 800