Canola School: Choosing the right hybrid for your farm

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Post-harvest is a great time to begin planning for next year’s canola crops, and a good time to evaluate how the growing season went. Choosing the right canola hybrid for your fields is an important decision, and there are more than a few things to consider.

In this episode of the Canola School, Nate Ort, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada, gives us a list of what to consider, when choosing your next hybrid.

Herbicide system and rotations is a big concern, not only for the canola crop, but for all the crops in a rotation, Ort says. Harvest management is another — pod shatter tolerance or swathability need to be considered.

We covered post-harvest scouting in a previous episode, but can’t stress enough the importance of knowing what diseases are in your fields. Knowing what’s there, means choosing a disease-tolerant hybrid variety for the future — especially if your next canola crop is in the field adjacent to the previous one.

Performance is another thing to keep in mind, of course. How has the hybrid yielded in your environment, or how has it yielded for a neighbour? It comes down to choosing the right hybrid for your environment — soil limitations, growing season length, and the maturity to match are all factors.

Seed treatments that are compatible with the hybrid you’re considering should address your farm’s particular challenges whether it’s insect or diseases pressure or both. Standability is another consideration as maybe a particular variety lodged in the past, or there was a disease issue, Ort says.

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Canola Performance Trial results for 2020 are available from the Canola Council in pdf format. The results are compiled from small plot and field-scale trials. Local trials are a big untapped resource, but use caution as the soil types and rainfall accumulation will be variable, area to area. If you’re using a local trial result as a determining factor, make sure it’s replicated and randomized, Ort says.

Switching up your hybrids is also sound advice. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” advises Ort. Growing more than one hybrid, maybe even in the same field next to each other, can rule out environment as a factor, and you can make a direct comparison.

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