John Guelly: Canola Discovery Forum 2016

December 19, 2016

By John Guelly, Director, Alberta Canola

As a member of Alberta Canola’s Agronomic Research Committee, I attended the 2016 Canola Discovery Forum in Winnipeg at the end of October. The three-day conference was led by Canola Council Agronomists & Staff and covered the full gamut of canola production as well as a domestic & international canola marketing update.

Canola Discovery Jeopardy

Canola Jeopardy pitted CCC agronomists against each other (LtoR) Shawn Senko (SK), Justine Cornelsen (MB), Keith Gabert (AB) with host Jay Trebek

Each Agronomist led the discussion in their particular specialty which was rounded out with experts from around Canada and a few from the US. It was exciting to see the passion each Agronomist has for their place in the industry. We have many creative & brilliant minds working for Council! Presentations varied from the standard power-point presentations to a fun & informative “Canola Jeopardy” game show which pitted each of the 3 canola prairie provinces against one another.

Topics discussed ranged from numerous topics such as:

  • Disease – sclerotinia, blackleg, clubroot
  • Canola Performance Trials
  • Grower Directed Research
  • Canola Markets
  • Fertility
  • Plant Establishment
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Harvest Management
  • Genetic Technology
  • Ultimate Canola Challenge
  • Weeds & Herbicide Resistance
Canola Discovery Forum Panel

Canola Watch/Digest editor Jay Whetter moderated the CANOVISON panel with (LtoR) Todd Eyrick of Monsanto, Dr. Roger Suss from the University of Manitoba and canola grower Ron Krahn of Manitoba.

The conference was attended by scientists, agronomists, farmers alike; essentially anyone with a vested interest in canola production in Canada. Each group had their chance to discuss where we are at, what we hope to fix and how, as well as whether potential solutions will work in our production systems.

Throughout the conference a brainstorming list evolved of what the canola research priorities should be moving forward to the Council goal of 52 bushels/acre by 2025. After all the suggestions were weeded through, everyone had a chance to cast their weighted vote through an online system to determine future research priorities. For a list of the priorities, go to: http://www.canolawatch.org/2016/11/09/your-chance-to-rank-canola-research-priorities/

Some highlights I noted were:

  • 92% of Alberta fields had Blackleg in 2016 with a 34% incidence (highest in the prairies)
  • A voluntary Blackleg R gene seed labelling process is underway to help with variety rotations
  • 260 new Clubroot cases in Alberta in 2016 and 24 new fields with broken resistance
  • Up to 20% of fall applied Nitrogen can easily be lost over the winter
  • Its very difficult to predict the amount of available Nitrogen we have every year
  • New research into lower seeding rates
  • Phobias to admitting chemical resistance in your fields to you farmer peers
  • 10 insects you want in your fields
ward Toma at Canola Discovery Forum

Alberta Canola General Manager Ward Toma reviewed the history of collaborative grower funded research.

The conference was a very insightful snapshot of where the canola industry is today and a sense of where it is headed. If you want to learn about canola production or want to make suggestions to future canola research, please plan to attend the next Canola Discovery Forum or contact us at Alberta Canola – we work on research for you year round!


Alberta Canola Connects is your window into the activities of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission as we work both locally and globally to make Alberta canola producers more profitable. 

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