Canola Performance Trial field tours this past summer featured a large CPT sign with the line ‘Funded by growers for growers’ and logos for the three provincial canola grower organizations and the Canola Council of Canada. That’s because the 2017 CPT program is completely funded by Alberta Canola, SaskCanola and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association, along with contributions from the British Columbia Grain Producers Association. The Canola Council of Canada administers the program on their behalf. CPTs provide valuable, independent, third party canola variety performance data to every canola grower.
New to the CPT program for 2017
- The addition of the new straight cut trials (in which variety entries are straight cut at 12 per cent moisture) were carried out at several small plot locations this year. This was added in response to the grower interest in straight cutting canola and varieties with pod shatter tolerance. Full details on the protocols are posted on the CPT website at canolaperformancetrials.ca/trial-protocol.
- Although clubroot-resistant (CR) varieties have been included in the trials before, extra attention was given to ensuring a sufficient number of CR varieties were included in 2017.
- CPT cooperating sites collected a number of crop management details, including stand establishment specifics, major weather events and fertility information based on target yields. A summarized version of this 2017 information will be posted at canolaperformancetrials.ca, once compiled.
- In addition to the 2017 CPT data results booklet that will be coming out after harvest, a new booklet called the Canola Variety Selection Guide: Featuring CPT Summary Data was produced and is available on the CPT website for download and online reference.
The Canola Variety Selection Guide is designed to assist growers with the variety selection process, with a step-by-step format using 2011 through 2016 small plot and field scale CPT results. Additional seed selection factors addressed (e.g. average growing degree day maps) can be handy reference information for a grower or agronomist when selecting a variety and for industry members to showcase when explaining the suitability of varieties.
To help growers determine which datasets are high-quality results, the Selection Guide includes a section on descriptive values (e.g. sample size and coefficient of variation) and what they mean. It also explains several characteristics that should be considered in order to look at a dataset more critically, such as experimental design, replication, site years and the number of site locations.
Protocols to ensure quality
The CPT program focuses on producing high-quality small plot and field scale data. It follows several quality assurance steps throughout and after the growing season, including:
- The CPT Technical Committee establishes the protocols, develops plot designs and reviews the dataset at the end of each year.
- The CPT Governance Committee, made up of the three provincial oilseed specialists and three Canadian Seed Trade Association representatives, provides direction on variety selection, sites and trials, budget, website, booklets and workshops.
- Drones were used again this year to take plot photos which will act as a reference when the Technical Committee reviews the site results after harvest.
- The multiple inspections at each of the small plot sites occurred again this year, as always, and various field scale inspections took place after herbicide applications.
- Similar to last year, both the CPT inspector and the farm cooperator will need to be in agreement that the field-scale trial data is valid and suitable for inclusion in the CPT publication in order to be utilized. Weigh wagons are required for yield measurements.
QUERIES DISPLAYED IN THE CPT BOOKLET INCLUDE…
Average DTM of varieties* (and number of sites) in small plot trials in the short SZ
Average days to maturity of varieties (and number of sites) in small plot trials in the mid and short season zone.
Average yield (% of check) of varieties* (and number of sites) in small plot trials in Saskatchewan
Average yield (percentage of check) of varieties (and number of sites) in small plot trials in Manitoba,
Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. This graph shows the Saskatchewan example.
Average yield (% of check) of LL (blue) and RR (red) varieties*
(and number of sites) in field scale trials
Average yield (percentage of check) of Liberty Link (LL) and Roundup ready (RR) and Clearfield varieties
(and number of sites) in small plot and field scale trials. This graph shows field scale trial data.
*The varieties listed in most of the above graphs include only those which had >10 sites and were either grown in two of the last three years of CPTs (2014-2016) or were in both 2016 and 2017 trials.
No Clearfield data was included in the field scale graph because no Clearfield varieties were in field scale sites. In the mention of percentage of check, check refers to 5440 or an adjusted value for 5440.
The CPT program is exploring more options to provide value to its audience. Committees are investigating the impact of environmental factors and management practices on canola variety performances in order to provide growers with useful information on selecting and fertilizing canola varieties for increased yield, increased profitability, increased sustainability and reduced production risk.
Another potential option is to set up CPTs to identify stress tolerance and yield stability of commercially available canola varieties for Western Canadian growers. This could show which canola varieties perform well across a range of environmental conditions and which perform well under stress conditions.
Finally, new statistical techniques could provide results on a wider range of topics, such as the ‘Best Linear Unbiased Predictor (BLUP)’ technique, which basically uses previous years’ data to model predictions for next year’s performance.