“It’s always a numbers game with varieties. There is no statistical difference between the top-yielding one and the lowest-yielding variety.”
Canola varieties generally delivered at the same capacity in field tests, says Phil Thomas, a senior agri-coach with Agri Trend.
Thomas gave an overview of canola varieties during a talk on canola innovations at the annual Agri-Trade show in Red Deer.
Commercial varieties generally have longevity of three to four years, he said. “Things are changing rather rapidly,” he said.
Thomas said over 70 per cent of varieties grown this year were hybrids, and over 90 per cent were genetically modified.
Roundup Ready makes up 50 per cent of the canola grown, followed by Liberty Link. There were 49 new varieties of canola released since last February, compared to 59 in all of 2007.
The new varieties have good genetic systems, and performed well. The average for all 18 different varieties tested in field tests tested this year was 54 bushels per acre.
“You’ve got a range from 35 to 71,” said Thomas.
A couple of the test sites were on the dry side and may have had adverse environmental conditions.
“It’s always a numbers game with varieties. There is no statistical difference between the top-yielding one and the lowest-yielding variety. As a professional, I want to know what the range is across all the environments. The narrower the range is, the better it’s adapted to a wide range of conditions.”
The varieties allow for a huge amount of choice, said Thomas.
“Our genetics are very good. If you’re handling it right, you should be somewhere in the middle of the range. If conditions are good, like this past summer, you might be at the top of the range. And we did have some spectacular yields this year.”
The mid-season zone was longer maturing and had more tests sites. In this area, the average yield was 69 bushels per acre, with a range of 31 bushels to 131 bushels.
“There were some sites, one in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan, that were very low because of poor growing conditions,” he said. “They drew down the overall average.”
“There is no statistical difference between all 18 of them. They’re all in the ballpark. There’s a lot of choice in all systems that will do the job,” said Thomas.