Canola Varieties 2018

Apr 11, 2018

Canola is the most popular cash crop in Western Canada. Find out what to expect from your canola seed dealer in 2018.

Canola is the only cash crop that is completely made in Canada. Since its development in the 1960s and 70s by plant breeders in the Prairies, the crop has quickly grown to be one of the most popular and profitable crops in the nation.

Today, canola seed producers have refined production of commercial canola seed to produce varieties that will perform under the range of circumstances faced in real life by Western Canadian farmers. A large factor that differentiates one seed from another is the range of traits growers have to choose from. Roundup Ready, for instance, is a trait that was developed by Monsanto to allow canola plants to resist the herbicide glyphosate – the power weed-killing active ingredient in Roundup.

Trait technology has evolved quickly over the past decade. Advances in seed development have allowed seed companies to produce canola plants with resistance to certain diseases, increase the strength of pods and stems, and even boost yield potential. However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to choosing the right canola hybrid for your farm. Not only do hybrids react uniquely to different conditions, but new hybrids are constantly in development to respond to grower concerns. For that reason, it’s important for canola growers to be up-to-speed on the latest innovations in seed.

In 2018, a big focus in the canola market is straight cutting. While all canola can be straight cut, in the past the popular belief was mature canola tends to shatter upon cutting, equating a yield loss as the canola passes through the combine. Seed companies have recently recognized that these risks can be managed by producing a plant with stronger pods and stems that resist shattering at full maturity. This allows farmers to save a lot of time by removing the step of swathing the canola. With stronger plants, many seed companies are promoting the potential for a small overall boost in yield when straight cutting canola.

Another big focus this year is multi-genic disease resistance against blackleg and clubroot. Blackleg resistance genetics are now becoming more sophisticated to offer protection against a wider range of blackleg pathotypes. While these genes are not a replacement for an appropriate crop rotation strategy, manufacturers are discovering combinations of several blackleg-resistant genes are the next step in eliminating occurrences of the disease in the field.

Clubroot, on the other hand, is becoming a growing concern for more and more growers in Western Canada. Where at one time the risk seemed limited to specific regions in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the disease is now being found in farms in every canola-producing province. As the “clubroot zone” grows, so must be the effort to control it. Most canola seed companies have released a clubroot-resistant hybrid for 2018, and efforts are expected to increase to produce clubroot-resistant hybrids with other desirable qualities.

While these are just a few of the top trends in canola seed this year, there are hundreds of canola hybrids available to respond to virtually any concern on your farm. Find a seed partner today to get started on your 2018 seed bookings.