52 by 25: Tools for increasing yields

One goal in the Canola Council’s new strategic plan is to reach an average yield of 52 bu./ac. by 2025. This, along with acres holding at around 2012 levels, will achieve the production target of 26 million tonnes — which is the forecast market for Canadian canola by 2025.

Here are five keys to achieving the yield target:

Genetic improvements. Based on the results of variety registration trials, we expect to see more gains in the yield potential of canola seed. In the next decade, modern genomics and breeding tools will take us from average yields of 34 bu./ac. to 42 bu./ac. — an increase of 8 bu./ac. from genetics alone.

Plant establishment. A better understanding of seed mortality and seed placement can lead to better plant stands and consistently higher yields. We estimate that improvements in seeding and plant establishment alone can increase average yields by 3 bu./ac. — often with no additional input costs.

Fertility management. Research suggests that many canola fields aren’t receiving optimum nutrition. In many cases, a small increase in fertility could lead to a large increase in production, leading to an average yield increase of 3 bu./ac.

Integrated pest management. Research is looking for ways to improve decision making for sclerotinia stem rot management. This and other improvement to insect management, including promotion and use of control thresholds, scouting and new research on beneficial insects, could increase average yields by 2 bu./ac.

Harvest management. Growers are losing up to 5 bu./ac. at harvest, according to research. Improved harvest timing and straight cutting could put 2 bu./ac. more seed in the bin.

Canola Watch will focus on management tips that will help growers achieve these yield gains.