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Choosing a new canola variety? We've got your back

Read Time: 5 minutes

By Devyn Willis September 18, 2023

Canola genetics are constantly changing, and keeping up with the best possible options for your farm could bring a new challenge every year. So where to begin? Location, the size of your operation, previous experience, your crop rotation, your equipment, agronomic needs, and overall seed genetics. We’ve worked with our team of market development agronomists across Western Canada to build a seed selector tool that makes it easy – and dare we say fun? 

1. Start by planning your herbicide system

Which herbicide system do you put on specific fields? If you battle with difficult weeds or want to limit herbicide resistance, it’s worthwhile to consider rotating herbicide-tolerance systems. For example, if Group 9 resistant kochia is an issue in your area, it might be best to consider a Liberty Link® variety. 

2. Choose between straight cut and swathed

This is a big decision as it could vastly change your harvest timing. Increased pod-shatter tolerance has become a more desired trait these days, making straight cut canola a popular option. Pod-shatter does exactly as it says and reduces risk of shattering. This trait can help you manage your acres more easily at swathing as it can allow the crop to be left standing longer. This is beneficial for harvest time management as well. Height, lodging, and days to flower and maturity are also factors that can impact planting dates and harvest timing so choose a variety that fits your needs.

3. Consider disease protection

Next, you may want to consider looking at the disease package each variety offers. Clubroot is a growing concern in many areas, and most varieties now offer clubroot resistance genetics. In severely infected areas, newer varieties with multigenetic disease resistance would be the best option. Consider disease packages that protect against sclerotinia stem rot and/or blackleg. Many seed companies have new disease-tolerant labels for this growing season. 

4. Set your yield goals

Finally, and most importantly, purchase with yield potential in mind. Compare performance among hybrids. Does your choice yield consistently under different conditions? Are you seeding this variety to your best ground with high potential or to marginal land? Provincial canola performance trial data, found in publications such as the Canola Council of Canada’s variety selection guide, along with local research programs will typically have great information suited to your specific environment. Consult with your local Cargill agronomist when narrowing down your selection.

Tailor your selection to your overall plan

Ultimately, the deciding factor will be how a variety yields on your farm, and the yield monitor is one way to evaluate variety performance. Grow two or more varieties each year to help determine which ones perform more to your expectation, and if one is consistently out-yielding the others, attribute more acres to that variety. However, the constant introduction of new varieties means you can’t get too comfortable with growing just one.

Once you’ve worked through these steps and decided which factors and traits are most important to you, use Cargill’s seed selector tool to identify the specific varieties that best fit those needs. By filtering the tool to your location and your chosen agronomic factors you can more easily find the perfect seed options for your farm.

If you are unsure whether you need a disease package, or you’d like to understand which options grow best in your area, ask your local Cargill rep.

Find your perfect seed variety with our seed selector tool