Canola variety performance in 2017

Take home messages

  • Pioneer® 43Y92 (CLF), Pioneer® 44Y90 (CLF), NuSeed Diamond (Conv) and Pioneer® 44Y24 (RR) were the highest yielding varieties at Longerenong.
  • The most profitable herbicide group was CLF at Longerenong, and TT in the Mallee.
  • In the Wimmera, the top yielding CLF, RR and Conv varieties were all equal to each other, with TT on average 0.6t/ha below this.

Background

Low cereal prices in 2017 and good soil moisture resulted in a greater area of canola sown than previous years. Seed supply of popular newer varieties highlighted the need for growers to understand where varieties rank in terms of yield, not just availability.

High plant available water (PAW) values and excellent rainfall in April gave early sown canola an ideal start, with moisture and warm soil temperatures contributing to good establishment. However, the year was not without its challenges; high mouse pressure at sowing meant that damage was apparent in some areas and baiting was necessary. The mouse pressure continued well into the growing season in much of the region and repeat baiting was often needed when mouse numbers increased again at flowering.

Frost was another major issue with many areas experiencing severe frost events in August and September putting flowering canola crops at risk. Green peach aphids were prevalent in certain areas however, management was better than previous years and the issue didn’t become widespread.

Canola has been common in the Wimmera for many years now and is becoming more regular in Mallee rotations. It is important to remember that varieties continue to change rapidly (with some lines being discontinued) and it is necessary to investigate newer varieties prior to deciding which one to grow.

Aim

To independently assess the performance of existing and emerging canola varieties in the Wimmera and Mallee region.

Trial details and inputs

Table 1. Site details of the BCG canola variety trial at Longerenong and the NVT Mallee canola trials at Birchip, Ultima and Hopetoun.

Table 1.

 

 

Fertiliser Longerenong: Granulock® Supreme Z + Impact® @ 60kg/ha at sowing, SOA @ 100kg/ha applied at 3-4 leaf, urea @ 170kg/ha applied at 3-4 leaf, urea @ 100kg/ha applied at 5-6 leaf.
Fertiliser Birchip: Granulock® Supreme Z + Impact® @ 60kg/ha at sowing, SOA @ 100kg/ha at 3-4 leaf, urea @ 100kg/ha at 3-4 leaf and urea @ 60kg/ha at 6-7 leaf.
Fertiliser Hopetoun: Granulock® Supreme Z + Impact® @ 60kg/ha at sowing, SOA @ 100kg/ha at 2 leaf, urea @ 100kg/ha at 3-4 leaf and urea @ 100kg/ha at 6-7 leaf.
Fertiliser Ultima: Granulock® Supreme Z + Impact® @ 60kg/ha at sowing, SOA @ 100kg/ha at 2 leaf and urea @ 100kg/ha at 3-4 leaf.

Pests and disease were controlled according to best management practice. Weeds were controlled according to herbicide group.

Method

Replicated field trials were sown at each of the above locations (Table 1). At Longerenong, the canola varieties were blocked according to maturity and managed according to herbicide group. At the NVT sites, canola varieties were blocked into replicated trials based on herbicide group.

In-season assessments included NDVI measurements (not included), grain yield and quality. The trial was desiccated prior to harvest; the timing determined by a standard variety within each trial.

Results and interpretation

Longerenong

Sowing conditions were excellent for canola with a PAW of 118mm and 67mm of rain in the week before the trial was sown. The good early conditions translated into high yields with 43Y92, 44Y90, Diamond and 44Y24 being the highest yielding varieties in this trial at 3.9-4.0t/ha (Table 2). The top Clearfield (CLF), Roundup Ready (RR) and Conventional (Conv) varieties out-yielded the Triazine Tolerant (TT) varieties by at least 0.5t/ha.

The dry winter and spring generally favoured the early-mid varieties. The hybrid varieties also generally out-yielded the open varieties, Bonito being an exception over some TT hybrids. The top yielding hybrid TT canola, Invigor® T 4510 out-yielded the top yielding open pollinated variety (ATR Bonito) by 0.2t/ha. Stingray was the lowest yielding variety at 2.8t/ha. It was unclear what the cause of this was, as there was no apparent shattering in any variety and any frost event would likely have affected other early varieties as well.

Table 2. Summary of canola variety grain yields and quality at Longerenong. Yields shown in bold are the top yielding varieties at the site.

Table 2.

NVT summary

Birchip had high PAW at soil sampling (167mm) and 70mm of rainfall at the end of April so sowing conditions were perfect for the trial in early May. The ideal start was a key factor in the trial performance with yields being the highest at Birchip (average 1.9t/ha) compared to Hopetoun (average 1.5t/ha) and Ultima (average 0.9t/ha) sites (see Appendix 7, pp. 242). The April rain meant that establishment was good at all sites, however the lower PAW at the beginning of the season at Ultima may have been a factor in the lower yields.

Although there were consistencies in varietal performance, the top yielding herbicide group varied between the three sites. The top yielding herbicide groups were CLF at Birchip, RR at Hopetoun and TT at Ultima. At all sites the top herbicide group out-yielded the next by 0.2t/ha.

High yielding varieties across the sites included Banker CL, newly released Saintly CL and 43Y92 (CL) in the CLF trials. At Birchip, Banker CL out-yielded the next highest variety, Saintly CL by 0.35t/ha (Figure 1). In the TT trials some of the top yielding varieties included Hyola® 350TT and newer variety InVigor T 4510 which was released last year.

Figure 1. Grain yield results at Birchip NVT ordered by herbicide group. Error bars show LSD CLF=0.25t/ha, TT=0.24t/ha, RR=0.24t/ha.
Figure 1. Grain yield results at Birchip NVT ordered by herbicide group. Error bars show LSD CLF=0.25t/ha, TT=0.24t/ha, RR=0.24t/ha.

Commercial Practice

Canola will always be a valuable break crop due to its capacity to reduce weed numbers, break crop disease cycles and provide diversity in both income and logistics in farming systems.

In 2017 canola was a good option with moisture high from 2016, cereal prices being low and
potentially higher weed burdens after a year of high rainfall. The Longerenong results show that TT canola was lower yielding than other groups in 2017 however it is important not to place too much weight on a single year of results as previous years have shown it to be quite competitive with other herbicide groups. It is still a valuable option to many growers with high weed control, without the residual chemistry of Intervix®. The differences between the other top yielders at Longerenong were small (less than 0.2t/ha) so it is worth choosing a system that best suits the weed spectrum before deciding on a variety.

Whilst RR varieties are still to find significant market share, the limitations that restrict grower
enthusiasm remain such as pricing, storage and transport. RR varieties are consistently high yielding compared to other herbicide technology and have the additional benefits of good weed control and no residual herbicide for next season. However, many sites do not accept GM canola so knowing market access is critical before planting.

Conventional variety Diamond is a fantastic yielder but lacks the benefits of weed control of the other herbicide groups. This means it is restricted by good paddock selection as weed control options are limited.

Canola should primarily be seen as a break crop, and included in situations where adequate soil moisture is present to ensure a successful start. Identifying why the break crop is needed will help you narrow down the list of varieties to select from. Growers should know their weed spectrum and select a variety from the canola herbicide group that is best suited to the weed situation.

On-farm profitability

Hybrid varieties are more expensive compared to open-pollinated varieties when it comes to
purchasing seed. However, hybrids have traits that may increase their ability to reach the higher yields making them more profitable. The highest yielding hybrid TT canola (InVigor T 4510) out-yielded the best open-pollinated TT (ATR Bonito) by 0.2t/ha. Taking seed costs into account InVigor® T 4510 (openpollinated) is around $80/ha better off (Table 3).

Table 3. Partial gross margin for TT open-pollinated vs hybrid at Longerenong.

Table 3.

Assumptions are; canola sold at $503.20/t (Dooen, Nov 29 2017). Oil bonus has been added according to individual varieties (Table 2). Varieties have been corrected to different seed costs, InVigor® T 4510 seed $26.5/kg and Bonito $17/kg based on 4 years of use, sown at 2.5kg/ha and 3kg/ha respectively. Bonito has also been corrected for an EPR of $5/t. Management costs were equal and so were excluded.

In this year at Longerenong; CLF was the most profitable group. In a comparison of top yielding varieties from each herbicide group 43Y92 CLF canola delivered to the Murtoa site would have made a profit of $290 over the highest yielding TT variety (InVigor® T 4510) and $528 over the highest yielding RR variety (44Y24) (Table 4). The cost of transport to a site that accepts GM canola is crucial when considering RR as an option.

Table 4. Partial gross margin for the top yielding canola variety by group for Longerenong

Table 4.

Assumptions are; TT and CL canola sold at Murtoa, (prices from 29 Nov 2017), RR sold at Edenhope (price from 8 Jan 2018). Oil bonus has been added according to individual varieties. Varieties have been corrected to different seed costs, hybrid seed at $26.5/kg and sown at 2.5kg/ha. RR technology fee included at $8/kg. Transport to RR receival sites was calculated at $4.50/km for a 40 tonne load. Chemical costs of herbicide group sprays have been included, other management was equal and therefore not included.

In the Mallee, there was very little difference in profitability with TT canola having a margin of $19/ha over CLF (Table 5). It is important to look at varietal performance over several years and consider weed pressure and resistance when selecting a herbicide group. Although one group may provide the most profitable option in a particular year it is important to consider the benefits of higher weed control over time.

Table 5. Partial gross margin for the average herbicide group yields across the Mallee sites (Birchip, Hopetoun and Ultima).

Table 5.

Assumptions are; TT and CL canola sold at Beulah, (prices from 29 Nov 2017), RR sold at Moama (price from 8 Jan 2018). Yields based on average yield of three Mallee NVT sites. Varieties have been corrected to different seed costs, hybrid seed at $26.5/kg and sown at 2.5kg/ha. RR technology fee included at $8/kg. Transport to RR receival sites was calculated at $4.50/km for a 40 tonne load. Chemical costs of group sprays have been included, other management was equal and therefore not included.

In 2017, TT canola was the most profitable in the Mallee environment and CLF canola returned the greatest partial gross margin in $/ha in the Wimmera.

Acknowledgements

The Longerenong trial was funded by BCG members through their membership. The Mallee trials are funded through the GRDC National Variety Trials program (BWD00029) and the Mallee trial report funded by BCG members through their membership.

CHAIRMAN’S WELCOME I  THE BIG DOZEN I BOARD, STAFF AND COMMITTEES I THE YEAR THAT WAS 2017 I 2017 RESEARCH SITES I SITE DESCRIPTIONS I BCG RESEARCH METHODOLOGY I GUIDELINES FOR INTERPRETING SOIL TEST RESULTS I GRAIN PRICES PRODUCTION COSTS I  ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS I  WHEAT VARIETY SPECIFICATIONS I NVT WHEAT YIELD RESULTS  BARLEY VARIETY SPECIFICATIONS I NVT BARLEY YIELD RESULTS CANOLA VARIETY SPECIFICATIONS I NVT CANOLA YIELD RESULTS I NVT PULSE YIELD RESULTS  CEREAL GROWTH STAGE CHART

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