Radish Deeptill (Raphanus sativus), also known as “melioration radish” is a plant breeding
innovation. The focus was on a strong rooting performance to combat soil compaction during the
crucifera selection process.
The aim of the breeding was to select a strong, aggressively downwards growing root. It should
have properties similar to those of lupin roots: downwards vertical soil penetration, if possible
even through compacted areas, such as tillage pans. This breeding goal has been achieved to a large
extent (Figure 1). Today, Deeptill (DT) is also known to offer many other positive properties such
as a later generative phase, lower winter hardness compared with common oil radish varieties and
faster soil warming in spring. The considerably later generative phase also makes it possible for
the farmer to sow earlier (end of July / beginning of August). The radish Deeptill biomass
formation was tested in comparison with three common oil radish varieties in 2010 by the Chamber of
Agriculture Lower Saxony, on behalf of DSV, at the Wehnen and Dasselbruchon sites. The result is
very impressive, with the root formation of the radish Deeptill being clearly superior to that
of the oil radish varieties (Figure 2). Due to its late generative phase, the formation of
aerial biomass is slightly below average. However, the intercrop programme “TerraLife”, as its name
suggests, places emphasis specifically on good rooting in the soil.
Fig. 1: Root of radish Deeptill perforates the tillage pan
A further point with regard to radish Deeptill is its ability to break up possible soil
compaction and open the soil, allowing faster soil warming in spring. Experiments by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) (Graph 2), were able to demonstrate the advantage of a faster
soil warming by radish Deeptill in spring. It allows the farmer for instance to sow maize
earlier without deep working the soil. Prerequisite for this is the relatively guaranteed freezing
off of the radish (Fig. 3). Very shallow tilling or mulching in autumn can help to secure freezing
off particularly on sites with a mild winter.
Fig. 3: Radish Deeptill freezes off well
For the new intercrop season, DSV is offer-ing mixes including radish Deeptill. These are marked
with the abbreviation “DT”. These mixes are particularly well suited to limy sites, where lupins
don’t grow well or possibly not at all, and combine the advantages of the other mix components with
those of the radish .