Canola Sustainability-Risk Mitigation

Priorities
Sustainable Production 
Start Date
2013
End Date
2017
Principal Investigator
Neil Harker - AAFC (Lacombe, AB), Breanne Tidemann - AAFC (Lacombe)
Co-Investigators
John O’Donovan - AAFC (Lacombe), Drs. Robert Blackshaw, Elwin Smith, and Newton Lupwayi - AAFC (Lethbridge) Dr. Ramona Mohr - AAFC (Brandon), Dr. Kelly Turkington - AAFC (Lacombe)
MCGA Funding
$5,340
Total Project Funding
$304,333
External Funding Partners
Alberta Canola, SaskCanola, Canola Council of Canada, Canadian Agricultural Partnership
Report

Research Objective

  • Determine if the risks of growing canola more frequently in rotations can be mitigated by inputs that are either higher than normal (fertilizer, seed) or unusual practices (enhanced seed treatment, chaff removal)

Project Description

The objective of the project was to determine if the risks of growing canola more frequently in rotations can be mitigated by inputs that are either higher than normal (fertilizer, seed) or unusual practices (enhanced seed treatment, chaff removal). The project was initiated on plots where canola had been grown continuously for six years. There were higher rates applied of normal (fertilizer, fungicide or seed) or unusual (tillage or chaff removal) inputs to plots for one, two and three years to determine if they could improve continuous canola yields when compared to a "Best Management Practice" (BMP) treatment.

Results of the study showed that optimal canola production was achieved when crop species diversity was maintained in cropping systems. Although continuous canola, when given fungicide to manage blackleg and 50 per cent higher fertilizer rates, could achieve yields comparable to canola in rotation, the conclusion was that “higher fertility regimes in continuous canola may not be as economically viable as simply rotating to other crop species.” Therefore, increasing inputs or employing unusual inputs in continuous canola was not as effective at optimizing canola production as simply rotation to a crop species other than canola.

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