Better seeding conditions and site-specific hybrids could push canola yields higher

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Regardless of the preparation and planning that goes into a crop, it’s weather that ultimately turns a struggling crop into a winner, or inhibits a crop from ever reaching its full potential.

Jay Whetter, editor of Canola Digest for the Canola Council of Canada (CCC), says this year’s canola yields were dramatically impacted by the effects of weather. In this interview, Whetter dives into how weather affects overall production and how the Canola Council is optimistic in their goals for Canada’s production moving forwards.

While it sounds simple, Whetter uses Australia as an example of how good weather resulted in them more than doubling overall production in just a few years.

Australia’s estimated canola production in 2018/19 was 2.3 million tonnes. Fast-forward to 2021 when Australia produced 6.8 million tonnes of canola. Whetter says this massive increase in canola yield is due to there being optimal weather conditions throughout the season. Australia’s canola harvest this year is predicted to be on par with the 2021 season.

It’s not just about the overall season, though, as spring conditions can have impacts all season long. Weather at emergence makes a huge difference because it allows canola to thrive through the flea beetle pressure at the cotyledon stage.

Whetter says that there could be lessons learned from the corn industry to increase yields in canola moving forward, as well. Canola hybrids used across the Prairies are consistent, but using hybrids better suited to the growing season of a farmer’s region could increase yields.

Whetter says that a prime canola crop takes good management and honestly just some good luck.

Hear more below:

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