By John Guelly, Alberta Canola Director & Research Committee Chair; Canola Performance Trials Governance Committee Chair
Did you know your research is managed by your fellow farmers?
The new Canola Variety Selection Guide was a collaboration of the whole Canola Performance Trials (CPT) team, including farmer reps like myself from Alberta as well as Keith Fournier from SaskCanola and Chuck Fossay from Manitoba Canola Growers Association, Canola Council staff, seed company reps along with the provincial oilseed specialists from across Western Canada.
Whether you are working on fall fertility and weed control, trying to finish up harvest or just planning out which Alberta Canola ‘Powering Your Profits’ meeting you want to attend in this year, it’s worth taking a few minutes to flip through the new Canola Variety Selection Guide: Featuring CPT Summary Data. It can easily be downloaded from the Canola Performance Trial (CPT) website to your phone, computer or tablet for easy reading.
This year the guide has been expanded to explain the whole CPT process, as more than yield needs to be considered when selecting a canola variety. Characteristics such as maturity date to disease resistance are all considered, with a new section on the ever-important clubroot concerns. The collaborating producer groups placed a special emphasis on ensuring that more clubroot resistant varieties are grown this year to show that yield is not usually a trade off for managing clubroot.
The committee always looks for farmer interest and opinions to guide the group. The trials are based as much as possible on actual farm situations to best reflect what farmers would see in their fields. Small plot trials are grown across western Canada in different growing length season, as well as some field scale trials to collect the data. A new initiative this year added straight cutting protocol to test the yield of new pod shatter resistant varieties.
The ‘Canola Variety Selection Guide: Featuring CPT Summary Data’ showcases quality data from the 2011 through 2016 small plot and field scale Canola Performance Trials. It was designed to assist growers with the variety selection process by providing information and data on different factors that could be considered when seed decisions for 2018. It also provides an overview of key functions of the searchable online database on the CPT website, to help you compare varieties in the way that interests you most.
The CPTs are an excellent use of grower levy as they provide a third party comparison of current western Canadian canola varieties. In the past, seed companies have shared in the cost of CPTs but this year the four grower groups (Alberta Canola, SaskCanola, MCGA, and the BC Grain Producers Association) funded the entire program. The CPT group is working hard to promote the benefits of the CPTs to the industry and hopes to encourage the seed companies to reinvest in the CPTs for the benefit of the whole industry.