Canola Performance Trials 2011 well underway

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The new Canola Performance Trials (CPT) 2011 is approaching the harvest phase, with data expected to be available to farmers in early November, the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) announced today.

In total CPT 2011 includes 26 small plots across western Canada as well as audited field scale trials conducted by seed companies. The data will be available through an online interactive tool on the CCC website with links from provincial grower group websites, as well as in a printed booklet format. The data will be presented in a way that allows growers to explore many agronomic factors, and they will be able to search for trial data in specific geographic areas near their farming operations.

A grower-funded and grower-driven initiative, CPT 2011 is a next generation canola variety testing program. The three Prairie canola grower groups – Alberta Canola Producers Commission, the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission (SaskCanola) and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association  – are funding the program and seed trade companies that participate pay entry fees. The BC Grain Producers Association is conducting trials in the Peace as their means of participation. A governance committee oversees the program and the CCC is delivering the program on their behalf.

“The results of CPT 2011 will provide science-based unbiased data to growers in time for them to make their fall seed purchase decisions,” says CPT 2011 governance committee Chair Franck Groeneweg, a Saskatchewan farmer and a SaskCanola board member. “The trials are based on commercially available varieties and have been consistent with actual production practices.”

The small plots component involves both varieties with the greatest market share and soon to be introduced varieties used with the corresponding herbicide systems that are also commercially available to growers. The data on the agronomic characteristics such as yield, height, lodging and maturity will provide valuable information for growers to make the best choice for their own farm. Management of the small plots has been addressing some of the shortcomings of former trials through plot design, data delivery and harvest management.  For that reason Groeneweg cautions that the data from CPT 2011 is not comparable to data from the former variety trials program. Comparable data will accumulate in future years.

Detailed reporting will include site specific data on weather, soil type, previous crop, fertility, seeding date and rate, and harvest date. Disease rating (blackleg) from the Western Canada Canola Rapeseed Recommending Committee will be included in the CPT 2011 reporting data.

The addition of the field scale component will provide depth to assessing consistency in variety performance. The field scale component involves a review of the seed trade field scale projects through an audit of the protocols used for conducting the trial data analysis and reporting.  This is ensuring that growers can have confidence that the protocol was conducted in a scientifically sound manner and that comparisons are appropriate. The audit process involves qualified professionals with extensive background in conducting field scale research trials.

Participants in the small plot trials include line companies, independent retailers and seed companies including Viterra, Bayer CropScience, Monsanto, Dow AgroScience, Cargill, Canterra Seeds, BrettYoung Seeds, FP Genetics and SeCan. For 2011, Monsanto, Bayer CropScience, Canterra and Dow are participating in the field scale program.

“The whole CPT 2011 process has provided an excellent opportunity for the entire industry – including the seed trade, growers and provincial seed specialists – to work together to ensure useful and timely information is available to the growers so they can make informed seeding decisions,” says Groeneweg.

The CPT 2011 governance committee has overseen all aspects of the program including approval of varieties, protocol design, financial management and overseeing data collection, analysis and reporting. Committee members include representatives from the provincial grower groups including B.C. ; Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta provincial oilseed specialists; three commercial Canadian Seed Trade Association representatives; and the CCC.

Dr. Rale Gjuric of Haplotech Inc has been hired to coordinate the trials. His in-depth knowledge and understanding of experimental design and his breeding background provides the experience to ensure quality data is provided to growers.

Variety performance data is the number one ranked agronomic information that farmers view as essential to the effective operation of their businesses. A survey conducted in January 2010 of 1,359 growers found that variety data was the third most important information need, superseded only by weather and commodity prices.

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For comment please contact:

Mr Franck Groeneweg
Green Atlantic Farms
Edgeley, SK  S0G 1L0
Tel:  306-699-2262
Cell:  306-699-7620