Brassica napus, known as oilseed rape, is a crucial crop prized for its oil-rich seeds and versatility. Yet, it faces challenges from pests and diseases in the field, impacting growth and quality. Exploring prevalent issues and effective management becomes pivotal for its cultivation’s success.



The most common fungal disease affecting oilseed rape (B. napus) in European fields is Leptosphaeria maculans, causing blackleg. This disease manifests as dark elongated lesions on stems and leaves, leading to lodging and reduced yields. It’s a significant concern in Europe’s oilseed rape cultivation, impacting plants at various growth stages. The fungus survives in crop residues, infecting new crops through spores produced on infected debris. Effective management strategies include planting resistant cultivars, crop rotation, and integrated pest management, which may involve fungicide application based on local recommendations. The disease’s severity varies across regions and years, underscoring the importance of staying informed and adopting a range of practices to mitigate its impact on oilseed rape crops in Europe.

✅Sclerotinia Stem Rot
Another common disease affecting oilseed rape in European fields is Sclerotinia Stem Rot, caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, commonly known as “white mold.” This disease presents as white cottony mycelial growth on stems, leaves, and pods, leading to wilting, lodging, and premature plant death. Sclerotinia Stem Rot is particularly concerning in regions with cool and humid conditions. The pathogen overwinters as hard resting structures called sclerotia and spreads through wind and rain-dispersed spores. Effective management involves using resistant cultivars, implementing crop rotation, improving air circulation through wider row spacing, and applying fungicides preventively during periods of high humidity. Given its impact on oilseed rape cultivation, especially in Europe’s favorable conditions, integrated disease management strategies are vital for reducing the disease’s significant economic and yield-related consequences.

✅Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle (Psylliodes chrysocephalus)
The most prevalent insect pest affecting B. napus (oilseed rape) in European fields is the Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle (Psylliodes chrysocephalus). These beetles cause damage by feeding on seedlings, resulting in “shot hole” damage, and larvae can harm stems, potentially causing lodging. Active during spring, they overwinter as adults and lay eggs in the soil. Effective management involves early planting, cultural practices like trap crops, and judicious insecticide use when necessary. While the Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle is a major concern, the impact of insect pests on oilseed rape varies by region and climate, emphasizing the importance of vigilance and integrated pest management for maintaining healthy crops.


Text by Kingsley Onyinye Ibeabuchi, PhD Student EpiSeedLink Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions