The Ultimate Canola Challenge was an idea the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) dreamed up for a 2013 start. The initial thought was that the project would help demonstrate how to grow high yielding canola crops and that researchers would submit production practices and later determine whose demonstrated the greatest potential.
“But we couldn’t find any researchers who were willing to put their name out on the line and say ‘this is the best way to grow canola,’ laughed Clint Jurke, the CCC’s western Saskatchewan agronomy specialist, at the 2014 CanoLAB in Olds. “What happened instead was that, after some discussion, the trials evolved into, ‘can we figure out which of these additive canola products that are available in the marketplace will actually contribute more to the yield?'”
The first year looked at 9 sites and 13 treatments: 1 using standard best management practices like good seed placement, crop protection and good fertility and 12 using further inputs, like increased nitrogen, boron, seed primers and biostimulators.
“There’s not any significant advantage to any of these products in the year 2013,” said Jurke, on the results of the first year. “Now, we have to keep in mind that 2013 was a good year across the prairies.”
This year’s Ultimate Canola Challenge has evolved even further, with an emphasis on return on investment. The plots are now divided into three different packages, deemed: No Frills, Input Optimization and Take it to the Max, low to high input treatments respectively.
In this interview, RealAgriculture’s Lyndsey Smith speaks to Angela Brackenreed, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada, about the change in focus for the UCC, the less-than-ideal start to the 2014 growing season, time-lapse cameras and some unexpected site challenges (a little alfalfa in your canola, anyone?).
check out our audio version on Soundcloud.