Ten new research findings to improve 2022 canola production

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Photo credit for feature image: Dr. BaoLuo Ma’s research team

Although the 2021 growing season was very challenging for many canola growers, several research projects were able to progress and wrap up. For an efficient year-end review, the outcomes of completed canola research projects are summarized in the 9th annual 2021 Canola Digest: Science Edition. This publication also includes brief updates on new and ongoing studies funded by SaskCanola, Alberta Canola and Manitoba Canola Growers through the Canola Agronomic Research Program (CARP), Canola Agricultural Partnership (CAP) on other initiatives.

2021 canola research outcomes

Key findings from research projects featured in the 2021 Canola Digest: Science Edition and posted on the Canola Research Hub include:

Mooleki phosphorus study image
Mooleki’s ‘Reducing toxicity of seed-placed phosphorus fertilizer in canola‘ research found that higher seed-bed utilization from the narrower row spacing of 9” could improve the crop safety for seed-placed phosphate. It also improved yields.

Active canola research projects

New and ongoing projects showcased in this Canola Digest: Science Edition’s section are also featured on the Hub.

One example is Dr. Pérez-López’s ‘Using avirulence markers to predict the phenotypes of clubroot pathotypes‘ study (pictured below). It is aimed at optimizing a hydroponic bioassay to phenotype the interaction between canola and P. brassicae, identifying P. brassicae avirulence markers, and designing and implementing a multiplex PCR assay able to differentiate P. brassicae isolates. The outcomes of this research will contribute to long-term management of the clubroot disease.

Schematic representation of an aspect of Pérez-López’s research. Photo credit: Pérez-López’s research team.
Lab work aspect of Pérez-López’s research. Photo credit: Pérez-López’s research team.
A researcher works on a hydroponic bioassay to phenotype the interaction between canola and clubroot-causing P. brassicae pathogen.
Photo credit: Pérez-López’s research team.

Another active project is Dr. Ma’s ‘Improving nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and soil sustainability in canola production across Canada‘ project, which aims to develop best management technologies to promote canola productivity, profitability as well as sustaining the environment. This study includes two field experiments at eight locations across Canada and laboratory analysis. Photos of this project in progress are provided below, and as the feature photo of this blog.

canola research
Measuring lodging-related parameters (2021 growing season); Photo credit: Dr. Ma’s research team
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Taking soil samples (2021 growing season); Photo credit: Dr. Ma’s research team

Nutrient turnover and root-microbe interactions

Dr. Dumonceaux’s recently completed Canola frequency effects on nutrient turnover and root-microbe interactions project, which is mentioned in the 2021 Canola Digest: Science Edition, now has its final report featured on the Canola Research Hub, along concise summary.

Since crop rotation is an important strategy used by producers to maximize soil and plant health, this research examined canola root systems in rotations including canola; canola-wheat; and canola-pea-barley.

The results determined minimal impacts of rotation on root nutrient availability, however root exudate production was affected by continuous canola, resulting in differences in the fungal microbiome associated with canola roots.

The researchers also concluded that the soil and root-associated fungal microbiome responded more strongly to crop rotation compared to the bacterial communities, and identified a fungus, Olpidium brassicae, that was particularly dominant in the canola-only rotations. These findings highlight the importance of considering the effects of crop rotation on the whole plant, including its associated microbial partners, and point to new areas for future research.

Project graphic indicating the rotations and plant/microbial responses analyzed. Source: Dr. Dumonceaux’s research team

Abundances of two closely related strains of Olpidium brassicae in the root, rhizosphere, and soil ecological niches of canola grown at Lacombe, AB in the final two years of the long-term rotation study. Red bars, continuous canola; green bars, canola-wheat; blue bars, canola-pea-barley. Letters above the bars indicate statistically significant differences in measured abundances. The fungus coded f509 was significantly enriched in continuous canola compared to canola grown in either rotation. Source: Dr. Dumonceaux’s research team

Canola Digest: Science Editions

Canola digest

The 2021 Canola Digest: Science Edition was collaboratively funded by SaskCanola, Alberta Canola and Manitoba Canola Growers, along with the Canola Research Hub (which is funded by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and the canola industry, including Alberta Canola, SaskCanola, Manitoba Canola Growers and the Canola Council of Canada).

In case you missed the previous versions, feel free to have a flip through these earlier Science Editions:

Read the full summaries, corresponding final reports and/or publications related to these research projects on the Canola Research Hub. In addition, check out the three provincial updates, Five CCC agronomy priorities article, two ‘Top 10’ articles and more, in the 2021 Edition!

Province-specific highlights

If you want to learn about the canola research funded by Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, check out the:

Alternative methods to improve agronomic knowledge

Additional canola research options

For a non-agronomic perspective on the canola industry, also check out:

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