If you haven’t done it already, you’re likely in the final throes of deciding what canola variety to grow in 2012. It’s always a difficult choice, mainly because there are so many to choose from and because it’s sometimes difficult to balance the lure of the new with the reliability of the not-so-new.
Well, if you farm in central Alberta, you’re in luck because Beyond Agronomy’s Steve Larocque has done the research for you and come up with his top five recommendations for the region. Here’s his take.
After reviewing canola varietal performance across 13,500 acres this year, I’ve decided on my top five picks for 2012. Here they are with my observation notes:
1. InVigor 5440: This variety is very well suited to my clients in the west who border the Highway 2 corridor. It has the potential to hit 90 bu./ac. and higher if you push the agronomy in the right growing season. The standability of this variety is second to none and consequently is sclerotinia tolerant in my opinion. It’s well suited across all my territory but certainly in the west where rainfall is higher.
2. InVigor L150: This variety yields extremely well but does not stand like 5440. In fact, this year I had a number of fields of L150 lodge that were heavily fertilized or manured. The L150 grown in the east side of my territory towards Highway 21 and east did extremely well with yields in the high 50s and 60s. I would pick this variety again for the drier areas where lodging is rarely a problem.
3. Pioneer 45S52: This RR variety stands fairly well, I would say in between L150 and 5440. It has as high a yield potential as 5440 and offers tolerance to sclerotinia. It would be the 5440 equivalent in a Roundup Ready system. My only beef with this variety, and with most RR varieties, is that it matures unevenly. You’ll always find flowers blooming right until late August, which can lead to slower dry down in the swath and smaller immature seeds reducing bushel weight. All in all, it’s a solid variety.
4. Dekalb 7345: This RR variety did very well in the test plots, and kept up with L150 and 45S52. It stands very similar to a 45S52, which is a refreshing change from the past Dekalb varieties. This variety yields extremely well and I suspect it will be in high demand with a $9.50/lb. price point. The one thing it doesn’t have is tolerance to sclerotinia so it does require a fungicide if it’s grown in a risk area. Pioneer 45S52 has a leg up on it for this reason.
5. VT500: This variety sold by Viterra was a bit of a surprise. For a RR variety it stood extremely well, in fact probably as well as 5440, even under irrigation. I’d rate this variety the number one RR variety for standability. Now VT500 would be great if you have lodging issues and like the Roundup Ready system, but it still yielded between 5% and 10% less than 5440 or L150.
Reprinted, with permission, from Beyond Agronomy.