Canola Performance Trials

Canola Variety Trials - Small Plot Protocol

Site Selection:

Sites should be selected where trial protocols will fit logistically. Sites should be:

  • Easily accessible,
  • Uniform and well-drained, avoiding low area, areas with known infestation of quackgrass, Canada thistle or herbicide tolerant weeds. Headlands of fields to be excluded from test area,
  • Not on a tight rotation - break from canola for past three growing seasons,
  • With a co-operator with time and tolerance to participate in this trial,
  • Sites with no rotational issues such as herbicide residue or disease pressure (severe blackleg),
  • No history of clubroot

Other Considerations

Disease:Sclerotinia stem rot and other diseases will need to be controlled with fungicide. Treat entire site with the same product/rate/timing.

Weeds:Document the weeds and stages at spraying time and those that survive / emerge after spraying. This is important because weeds / time or removal have a large influence on yield and you can expect weeds to be spatially / temporally variable across the plots.

Sprayer tank contamination:Ensure proper clean-out (triple rinse, use of ammonia) of tank between herbicide applications. If equipment available, use separate tanks for the 3 herbicide systems (RR, LL, and Clearfield).

Spray drift:Ensure there is no risk of drift by establishing a “no-spray zone” of 10m around the trial area. Low drift nozzles and shrouds are required to be used during herbicide application to ensure that there is no drift between herbicide treatments within the trials.

Seed:Same seed source must be used for all trials, with a seed treatment that it is sold to producers. Indicate the seed treatment used. Seed additives such as biological or phosphate dressings are discouraged.

General Management:All management aspects must be as similar as possible between trial systems - fertility, seeding rate, seeding date, spraying, swathing, and harvest.

Site Audits: Each site will be inspected and audited by members of the committee or by the coordinator to ensure quality of data. Trial Design: Randomized Complete Bloc Design with 4 replications. Herbicide Systems will be blocked to minimize the potential for injury. The outside of the replications should have at least one guard plot. Seed for guard plots to be supplied as well as the seed for each individual variety. Trials may need to be sprayed with individual plot sprayer to reduce drift potential. Trial to be designed by coordinator and randomizations and plot plans sent to field cooperators. Trial design TO NOT BE ALTERED. See attached .pdf on ‘2011 Canola Variety Trial Design Example’

Small-plot System - Protocol

Plot Dimensions: Plot width will be depended on seeding equipment width. approximately 1.5 to 2.1m wide X 5m or 6m long = 7.5m2 to 12.5m2 . Guard-rows composed of the same variety that is in each plot.

Seeding Rate: 30seeds per meter row (around 1400 seeds/plot). If not then, all varieties @ 5.5 lbs/ac. Seed lots must be between 4.0 - 5.0 grams per 1000 seeds and germination must be over 96% tested within the last 6 months.

Fertilizer Rate: Fertilizer blend and rate should be used in accordance with soil tests or local recommendations and applied at the same rate for all varieties.

Herbicide Applications: timing at 3 leaf stage. Spraying the 3 treatments at a location should be done all on the same day. Swathing: Swath trials when the plots exhibit >60% seed colour change. If guard rows are used, ensure that the guard rows are left standing.

  • Roundup Ready Lines - Round Up - 0.5L/ac or 1.25L/ha, Water vol - 45 l/ac
  • Liberty Link Lines - Liberty - 1.35L/ac or 3.33L/haTank mix Centurion - 76ml/ac or 188ml/ha plus 0.5% (v/v) Merge: Water vol - 110 l/ac
  • Clearfield Lines - Odyssey 17.4 g/ac plus Equinox@ 67 ml/ac plus Merge @0.5 L in 100L of spray solution

Harvest: Harvest the trial when seed moisture is <10%. Combine should be equipped with an automated weigh and moisture reading system. If guard rows are used, then ensure that no guard-row seed enters the combine.

Data Collection Yield - final plot yields to be reported in bu/ac. Yields will be adjusted based on seed moisture corrected to 10%.

To be reported in publications:

Maturity - Days from planting to swathing will be based on the majority of the plants in the plot have 60% seed colour change, assessment to be made on all plots.

Lodging resistance - measured on the degree of lean to the lower stem of the plant on a 1 to 5 scale. Lodging notes recorded at time of swathing.

Height - in cm on 10 randomly chosen plants in each plot. Height recorded at swathing.

Disease Information - observations to be collected by Provincial Canola Disease Survey team (provincial government/AAFC). For information purposes only, not to be used as individual variety disease ratings.

Agronomic information - fertility, seeding date, spray date, weeds present, must be recorded.

Environmental information - soil moisture, rainfall, GDD, frost events. Plant counts - 2 to 3 weeks after seeding, record the number of plants/m2 for each plot. The mean of three subsamples for each plot to be recorded.

For audit process:

Plot uniformity - notes should be taken through the season on the uniformity of each plot. These notes are to record any factors that have reduced plant stand or yield potential.

Weed Density & Control - notes should be taken on weed spectrum, density and control. These notes are to record any factors that have reduced plant stand or yield potential. Weed control for all weeds to be rated on 1 to 10 scale, where 1 is poor and 10 is excellent. To be recorded for each plot. Below is a list of reasons that a trial or location should be considered not valid: Sites should be selected where trial protocols will fit logistically. Sites should be: Spray drift: Recommendation of low drift nozzles and shrouds are required to be used during herbicide application to reduce drift between herbicide treatments within the trials. Recommendation in protocol of ‘proper clean-out’ (triple rinse, use of ammonia) of tank between herbicide applications on different HT canola’. Look for patterns of drift in field. If spray drift present but on areas not to be used as harvest yield, variety plot or trials may still be accepted. If drift occurs in area to be used as yield test, then that variety strip should be excluded from the trial results. If occurs widespread on entire trial, then entire trial will not be approved for data use.

Reasons for Rejecting a Trial or a Site

  • Hail - any hail at all and this site should be rejected
  • Obvious high disease or insect pressure. These are patchy by nature
  • Off-label herbicide applications or any herbicide application errors
  • Spray drift that cannot be accounted for
  • Agronomic issues
  • Incorrect swathing timing
  • Site-selection - pot-holes
  • Seeding issues/stand establishment, etc.
  • Lack of Researcher personnel and/or weigh wagon present at harvest
  • Other acts of God causing big damage:
    • Gophers or other wild-life
    • Tornado - plough winds

  • Yields less than 10bu/ac.
  • Committee has final say whether data is valid

Field Scale Canola Variety Trials - Audit Points

Site Selection AUDIT:

  • Easily accessible,
  • Uniform and well-drained, avoiding low area, areas with known infestation of quackgrass, Canada thistle or herbicide tolerant weeds. Headlands of fields to be excluded from test area,
  • Not on a tight rotation - break from canola for past three growing seasons,
  • With a co-operator with time and tolerance to participate in this trial,
  • Sites with no rotational issues such as herbicide residue or disease pressure (severe blackleg),
  • No history of clubroot

Other Considerations

Seed: Where possible, the same seed source must to be used for all trial locations, with a seed treatment that it is available to producers. Indicate the seed treatment used. Seed additives such as biological or phosphate dressings are discouraged. If seed not available without additives, then to be used but additive must be indicated.

General Management: All management aspects must be as similar as possible between trial systems - fertility, seeding rate, seeding date, spraying, swathing, and harvest.

Site Audits: Trial locations will be inspected and audited by members of the committee or by the coordinator to ensure quality of data.

Trial Map: Mark the plot area for each variety with visible markers (flags, stakes, etc) and record GPS co-ordinates. Indicate on markers the variety in the plot. Trial area and specific variety area to be marked the day of seeding. Maps indicating the location of the trial and the arrangement of varieties within the trial to be forwarded to coordinator after the first company inspection to ensure plot uniformity, plant counts and weed control. Trial map to include map of trial configuration, seeding date, seeding depth, pre-seed herbicide application (if any), fertilizer application rate, plot uniformity rating, plant count ratings, weed control ratings any issues that occurred during seeding.

Entries: The canola varieties to be tested in the field scale will be selected from the list of entries in the small plot trials.

Seeding Rate: All varieties to be seeded at the same seeding rate (recommendation of 5.0 lbs/ac) with seed lots between 4.0 - 5.0 grams per 1000 seeds. Seed size and germination to be recorded. If seed size falls below 4 grams or above 5 grams, seeding rate may need to be adjusted to compensate for plant populations. Optimal target plant population is 10 plants/ft2 (range 5 - 15 plants/ft2).

Seeding: All varieties must be planted within 24 hours. A minimum of one person in addition to the producer operating the seeding equipment is required to be present during seeding. Additional person will mark boundaries of individual variety strips, record GPS waypoints, record environmental information at time of seeding and any observations or issues that occurred at time of seeding.

Environmental information - precipitation, GDD, frost events to be provided for growing season.

Agronomic information - fertility, seeding date, spray date, weeds present, must be recorded Swathing: Swath trials when the plots exhibit >60% seed colour change. Varieties within the trial may need to be swathed on different dates to accurately achieve 60% seed colour change.

  • Fertilizer Rate: Fertilizer blend and rate should be used in accordance with soil tests or local recommendations and applied at the same rate for all varieties. Seeding is recommended to be done perpendicular to direction of fertilizer pre-banding
  • Herbicide Applications: Plant staging of crop and weeds species to be recorded, as well weed spectrum. Herbicide used, herbicide rate, adjuvant/surfactant/spreader all to be recorded. Spraying of all varieties in the trial should occur on the same day. Second applications of herbicides may be applied to control misses, late flushes of weeds, etc. Must be recorded to include in economic analysis.
  • Fungicide/Insecticide Applications: Apply as needed. Use label directions for application timing, product amounts and water volumes. Record crop stage, product used, rate, etc.
  • A minimum of one person in addition to the producer operating the swather is required to be present during swathing. Additional person will assist in assessing varieties for seed colour change and swathing timing, assist in determining boundaries of individual variety strips for swathing protocols to achieve ‘true’ tests, record height and lodging notes on varieties prior to swathing. Record observations or issues that occurred at time of swathing.
  • If a producer is determined to straight-cut trials, the approval must be given prior to start of the operation. Interest in straight-cutting should be discussed at time of seeding.
  • Take a full cut down the centre of the plot for the full length for each entry in the trial.
  • Leave an un-cut swather pass between the varieties where they meet in the field to be sure that a “true” test is being done to compensate for herbicide drift and for possible mixing of the varieties along the split line. After a full swather cut has been done for each variety, the uncut pass can be swathed.
  • Make sure the full swather pass has been marked.
  • See the illustrations below for an example of each method using a 24 foot swather as an example and a 10 foot gap in between the entries account for any edge effect.

Harvest: Harvest the trial when seed moisture is <10%. Combine should be equipped with an automated weigh and moisture reading system. To be reported in publications:

  • Weigh-wagon: Make sure weigh-wagon calibrated properly prior to each trial harvest.
  • Combine: Make sure grower begins harvesting the plots with an empty hopper (prime on surrounding canola and dump) and harvest only the strips as per the swathing protocol. Measure the exact length and width of each of the strips. Make sure combine hopper is empty after each variety. Length of swath should be accounted and adjusted for missing areas due to extenuating circumstances. Areas that are questionable (due to ponding, wildlife damage) should NOT be harvested, but left and strip length adjusted.
  • Moisture Adjustment: Ensure that a moisture meter is present at harvest to record %seed moisture. These values will be used to make yield corrections based on this formula: (100 - %Moisture)* yield / 90 = yield corrected to 10% moisture. Yields to be recorded and presented in bu/ac.

Data Collection

Yield - final plot yields to be reported in bu/ac. Yields will be adjusted based on seed moisture corrected to 10%.

Maturity - Days from planting to swathing will be based on the majority of the plants in the plot have 60% seed colour change, assessment to be made on all plots.

Lodging resistance - measured on the degree of lean to the lower stem of the plant on a 1 to 5 scale. Lodging notes recorded at time of swathing.

Height - in cm on 10 randomly chosen plants in each plot. Height recorded at swathing.

Disease Information - observations to be collected by Provincial Canola Disease Survey team (provincial government/AAFC). For information purposes only, not to be used as individual variety disease ratings. Companies representatives to take and supply the following notes on each variety within the trial. Plots to be assessed again for the following at time of coordinator/committee audit.

For Field Audit Process ONLY:

Plant counts - 2 to 3 weeks after seeding, record the number of plants/m2 for each plot. The mean of 8 locations for the field-scale plots.

Plot uniformity - notes should be taken through the season on the uniformity of each plot. These notes are to record any factors that have reduced plant stand or yield potential.

Weed Density & Control - notes should be taken on weed spectrum, density and control. These notes are to record any factors that have reduced plant stand or yield potential. Weed control for all weeds to be rated on 1 to 10 scale, where 1 is poor and 10 is excellent. To be recorded for each plot. Below is a list of reasons that a trial or location should be considered not valid:

Reasons for Rejecting a Trial or a Site

  • Hail - any hail at all and this site should be rejected
  • Obvious high disease or insect pressure. Pressure grossly uneven between plots
  • Spray drift that cannot be accounted for and affects the test area to be taken for yield
  • Agronomic issues, site selection issues (pot-holes)
  • Seeding issues/stand establishment, etc.
  • Lack of minimum personnel present at seeding, swathing and/or weigh wagon present at harvest
  • Other acts of God causing big damage:
    • Gophers or other wild-life
    • Tornado - plough winds

  • Yields less than 10bu/ac.
  • Committee has final say whether data is valid