Rape (Brassica napus oleifera D.C.) is an annual plant of the cabbage family (Brassicaceae). Among oil cultures of the cabbage family, winter rape holds first place in oil content in its seeds (51% of drying-resistant oil with iodine number 94-112). Moreover, the seeds contain up to 20 % protein and more than 17 % carbohydrates. There’s a significant amount of harmful erucic acid in rape oil, which reduces its nutritional qualities. Rape oil of non-erucic species is widely used in food as well as in confectionary and canning only after refining it. Also, it is used in engineering industries. The cake and wholemeal of winter rape is a high protein concentrated livestock feed. The wholemeal of non-erucic species of rape is equivalent to soy because of its forage qualities. The cake and wholemeal of conventional species are fed to livestock in small portions; 1 kg of cake is equivalent to 1 food unit. Winter rape is a good melliferous plant (1 he) that yields up to 100 kg of honey.
Winter rape demands much moisture. The plants of rape are most sensitive to moisture in autumn and spring. The seeds of winter rape start to germinate when the soil temperature reaches 1 ?C but for getting healthy shoots temperatures between 14 ?C and 17 ?C are required. The best soils for rape are black, gray and dark-gray forest soils with optimal reaction of soil solution being pH 6, 0-6,5. The vegetation period from shooting to harvesting is 289-320 days. Rape needs much daylight for optimal growth. The best precursors for winter rape are black and well manured engaged fallows, vetch-oats mixtures and the mixtures of winter rye with winter vetch. Rape produces high yields after clover (for one cutting) and after early potatoes which are reaped in late July. Rape can be returned to the same field no earlier than 4 years. It’s not recommended to sow it after mustard, radish, cabbage and other crops of the cabbage family.
Rape is sown with an ordinary row method (intercropping width 15 cm) with seeding rate of 0,9-1,2 million/he of similar seeds, which is 4-6 kg/he. In weedy fields, rape is sown with a wide-row method (45 cm) at a seeding rate 3-3, 5 kg/he. Rape is sown between August 15 and 30 to a depth of 2-4 cm, depending on soil moisture.