Published on Tue, 02/03/2015 by BASF Canada

The evolution of Canada’s most profitable crop

From its inception in the 1970s to today, canola has steadily evolved and become the most profitable crop in Canada.

In the 1990s, canola moved from open pollinated cultivars to high yielding hybrids. In 1995, the first herbicide-tolerant variety was released followed by the introduction of disease-resistant varieties.

As canola production continues to evolve, growers look for innovative tools and technologies to help meet challenges and maximize canola production.

Chris Kulbacki farms near Neepawa, Manitoba. He has two young boys and hopes to see them take over the farm one day. “We’re trying to do everything we can to ensure that’s an option for them. With research and innovation, companies like BASF are bringing new modes of action that will help us achieve that goal,” said Kulbacki.

There are a number of challenges that come up each growing season, but managing diseases has become an increased concern for canola growers. Blackleg, for example, is an infectious disease that can have detrimental effects on canola.

“Blackleg is on the rise in our area. I think it’s pretty prudent of us to get ahead of it and start treating it with some of the products that are out there,” said Kulbacki.

After a late start last season due to cold and wet soil conditions, Kulbacki didn’t hesitate to do a trial of new Priaxor fungicide in combination with his herbicide knowing that his canola was under stress at the time. “We’ve seen the benefits of AgCelence products in the past so we were really excited to try Priaxor on canola.”

When used as a preventative application, the new mode of action, Xemium, in Priaxor fungicide provides unique mobility to deliver consistent and continuous control of yield-robbing diseases like blackleg.

“Priaxor is a tool for canola growers beyond control of critical diseases,” said Glen Forster, Technical Market Specialist for fungicides with BASF. “In research trials, Priaxor has shown eight percent more leaves, seven percent thicker stems and ten percent longer roots. The AgCelence benefits result in ease of harvest as well as an overall stronger, healthier crop that delivers a consistent yield increase and positive return on investment for a canola crop.”

In addition to fungicide solutions from BASF, new this year is the use of Heat and Heat LQ herbicides for pre-harvest applications on canola. When used as a desiccant, Heat herbicide dries down canola and broadleaf weeds to improve crop uniformity. Fast and effective desiccants that dry down both the crop and tough weeds will become more critical as a great number of growers begin to straight cut.

“New modes of action will allow us to be sustainable into the future,” said Kulbacki. “It’s imperative that we have new modes of action in order to allow us to farm the way we’re farming into the future and to allow our kids to have a chance to live the life we’re living. It’s very important to us that it’s a family business.”

BASF Canada provides information about managing stresses and diseases on its website, www.AgSolutions.ca. There, growers can learn more about threats in their area and hear from other growers who have tried various fungicides and herbicides on their own fields.

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