Canola School: Frequency of canola in rotation — the economics and the risks

Episodes:

More diverse crop rotations are better, agronomically speaking, but economically speaking, the story is not always so clear. Cash flow in the immediate term sometimes takes centre stage when growing a high-profit crop such as canola.

But what if growing a more diverse rotation was just as profitable as growing canola in a one-in-two, or one-in-three year rotation? Furthermore, what if we could better quantify the other types of risk costs in terms of weed pressure, insects, or disease?

In this episode of the Canola School, Breanne Tidemann, research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Lacombe, Alta., explains a research project that examines these two questions.

The project was passed down to Tidemann from her predecessor, Neil Harker, and includes sites at Lacombe and Lethbridge in Alberta, and at Melfort, Scott, and Swift Current, in Saskatchewan, covering a wide scope of climatic conditions and soil zones.

“By the time the project finished, which was last field season, we had had 12 years of continuous canola, and that was in comparison to a one-year out of canola, and two year out-of-canola rotations,” says Tidemann.

Watch the full video to hear more about how the research was set up and what was measured. Story continues below:

The first six years of research has been published, and the main take-away was that yield increased by five bu/ac when canola was included every second year, as compared to continuously. Yield increased again by another 5 bu/ac when moving canola to every three years.

For every year out of canola, there was a decrease in damage from root maggots and the frequency and severity of blackleg.

As for the economic side of the equation, “When we look at our net returns, what we’re seeing averaged across all sites and all years, there was really no significant difference between treatments, which is actually a good thing,” says Tidemann. “What we’re told is ‘I can make more money growing short rotation canola’ and what this is showing us is, in the long-term at least, that’s not necessarily true.”

The economic data hasn’t been analyzed yet by the economist collaborating on the project, but the other benefits — increased yield, decreased weed pressure, insects, and diseases — are quite clear.

In the more recent data that Tidemann has collected, from 2016 to 2019, the yield pattern changes a bit. “When we look at the final three years of yield, we start to see more of what we actually expected,” says Tidemann. The biggest increase in yield when moving from a continuous to a one-in-two rotation, and you still get an increase in yield, albeit smaller, when you go from one-in-two to aa one-in-three rotation.

Leave a Reply

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

gdpr, __cfduid, PHPSESSID, wordpress_test_cookie, woocommerce_items_in_cart, woocommerce_cart_hash, wp_woocommerce_session, wordpress_logged_in, wordpress_sec, wp-settings, wp-settings-time, __cf_mob_redir, wordpress_cache, realag
__cfduid

Marketing

Measuring interactions with the ads on the domain.

__gads,fsk_ut_2317
IDE

Statistics

These are used to track user interaction and detect potential problems. These help us improve our services by providing analytical data on how users use this site.

_ga,_gid,_gat,_cb,_chartbeat2,_chartbeat4
_ga,_gid
metrics_token

Preferences

Preference cookies enable the website to remember information that changes the way the website behaves or looks, like your preferred language or the region that you are in.

chartdefaults, comment_author, comment_author_email, comment_author_url
JSESSIONID, _os_session,anonymous_votes,csrf-param,csrf-token,user,user-id,user-platform,intercom-session,intercom-lou,intercom-session
personalization_id, tfw_exp

 

Register for a RealAgriculture account to manage your Shortcut menu instead of the default.

Register