Canola Rotation Studies – Canola, Cereal, Soy

Sustainable Production 
Start Date
End Date
Principal Investigator
Dr. Claude Caldwell - Dalhousie University
Doug McDonald - Dalhousie University, Dr. Donald Smith- McGill University, Drs. Bao-Luo Ma and Peter Masson - AAFC-ECORC
MCGA Funding
Total Project Funding
External Funding Partners
Alberta Canola, SaskCanola, Canola Council of Canada, Canadian Agricultural Partnership

Research Objective

  • Define the effect of canola on other crops in the rotation and the effects of those crops on canola performance across eastern Canada
  • Through the collection of soil, crop growth, yield and tissue N concentration data allow for calculation of economic benefit of growing canola as well as nutrient utilization efficiency and carbon footprints in different cropping systems
  • Investigate major diseases and insects of canola production in different cropping systems
  • Identify and establish a sustainable cropping system for canola production in eastern Canada

Project Description

Crop rotation is recognized as one of the best management practices in field crop production. The major challenge for expansion of canola production in eastern Canada is how canola will fit into the existing cropping systems. It is known that the type of crop rotation has a significant effect on canola yield and quality. The benefits of an effective rotation can be great but we have an incomplete understanding of the complexities behind these effects. Studying rotation requires long-term trials in order to account for the short-term influences of weather, soils and management practices. To identify and establish a sustainable cropping system for canola in this agricultural region, we must consider many factors such as growing season, soil type, insects, diseases, preceding crops, weeds, soil fertility, equipment, farmer acceptance, etc. Nowadays diversity is the key to reduce the risk in grain cash-crop farming. Identification of site-specific suitable canola-based crop rotation can only be a viable option to reduce risk of grain-based cash crop production and to enhance sustainable canola production.

The results of the project determined that the root microbiome seemed to be a key determinant of crop success in a rotation. Further research in the rhizosphere biology, especially as it is related to crop sequence is warranted.

Other conclusions from the report can be found at the full report link above.

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