March 17, 2017 Wade Stocker
Research Team Provides Seeding Rate Recommendation for InVigor Hybrid Canola
InVigor® hybrid canola has a rich history of providing great canola genetics backed with value added traits to Western Canadian canola growers. However, more than good genetics and traits are involved in achieving great yields; good agronomy is also a key factor. With this in mind, Bayer created the Product Excellence team. The team’s goal is to research how agronomy can influence the performance of InVigor hybrids and to provide research-driven agronomic recommendations.
Product Excellence Research
Launched in 2013, Product Excellence conducts large-scale, targeted, agronomic-based research trials to produce statistically relevant results. The purpose of the research is to optimize the agronomic performance, consistency, and yield of InVigor Hybrid Canola.
What makes this research unique from traditional small-scale breeding plots is that it intends to accurately represent on-farm conditions based on large-scale, randomized and replicated plots. Product Excellence uses plots more than 15 times the size of the traditional plots used in other agronomic-based research.
These large plots, combined with the use of seeding and harvesting equipment closely resembling the equipment used on farms across Western Canada, allows Product Excellence research to closely mimic on-farm conditions.
Three years of data on plant population
With this agronomic, research-based focus, Product Excellence has collected data from 42 trial locations across Western Canada over three years to better understand the interaction between InVigor hybrid performance and plant population. Product Excellence research shows that there are a number of agronomic considerations when identifying ideal plant populations.
For instance, lower plant populations can dramatically compromise weed control due to insufficient crop competition.
Conversely, excessive plant populations can act as a drain on available resources such as light, nutrients, space and moisture by creating excessive competition within the crop for limited resources.
High plant populations result in higher in–season mortality and a higher percentage of plants in the stand that do not contribute to yield but still use resources. The plants that do not contribute to yield, actually limit the available resources for the healthy plants, possibly resulting in reduced yield.
Plant populations can also dramatically influence the incidence of disease and lodging. At high populations, the Product Excellence team observed a higher incidence of sclerotinia, which was often compounded when the higher density crop began to lodge, trapping moisture and heat and creating a humid environment ideal for Sclerotinia infection.
Based on three years of Product Excellence research, including 42 large-scale trial locations conducted across Western Canada, it is recommended that growers target an end-of-season plant population of five to seven plants/ft2 for their InVigor hybrids. At this population, yield will be optimized and balanced with the agronomic considerations discussed above.
The research shows that, in most situations, planting 10 seeds/ft2 with a survivability of 50 to 70% will achieve the recommended five to seven plants/ft2. However, 10 seeds is the starting recommendation and growers will need to adjust for specific environmental factors, agronomic practices, and field conditions.
These research findings may help growers in Western Canada decide the best seeding density for their operation. To fully understand survivability in their own conditions, growers should become familiar with air drill calibration, and conduct plant counts after harvesting or swathing to accurately interpret the number of plants contributing to yield.
Guest blog courtesy of Wade Stocker, Campaign Manager, Canola Seeds and Traits, Bayer CropScience Inc.