Is the “green” going home this year? That’s the question that will be answered this first week of December as the results of the 2017 Canola 100 challenge are revealed at the Agri-Trend Agrology Farm Forum conference in Calgary.
This is the second year of the three-year Canola 100 contest challenging canola growers from across Canada to produce a verified 100-bushel canola yield on a designated 50-acre plot of canola. The first farm that produces that verified 100-bushel yield will win a grand prize of 100 hours of free use of an entire (seeding to harvest) fleet of John Deere equipment.
Of some 34 competitors who entered the contest in early 2017, 19 actually carried through to the end to have their contest plots harvested, cleaned, dried and weight verified by a third party auditor. One of those 19 might be winning use of the John Deere equipment. If there is no winner, the contest carries on to the final year in 2018. Results will be announced during the annual Farm Forum conference Dec. 5 to 7 being held at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary.
“If we don’t have a winner (100 bushel yield) this year, there will definitely be a winner announced in 2018,” says Rob Saik, former CEO with Agri-Trend Agrology who developed the contest idea. If over the years of the contest no farm produces a 100-bushel yield, the grand prize will be awarded to the farm with the highest canola yield over the three growing seasons. “If there is no winner this year, some- one will definitely be taking home
John Deere equipment next year,” says Saik.
During the 2016 growing season there was no 100-bushel yield winner, however Mike Nelson, a Wetaskiwin, Alta., area farmer led the field of contestants with an impressive verified 81.43 bushels per acre on his farm.
Saik was pleased with the participation by producers during this, the second year of the contest. There were slightly fewer producers this year who signed up initially late last winter, but more of that group decided in late summer to ante up $1,000 to carry through with the final yield weighing and verification.
“In talking to producers generally I am impressed with how well canola growers did do this year,” says Saik. “In many respects we didn’t have the greatest growing conditions this year. It wasn’t the case everywhere, but in many areas it was a very dry year.
“Farmers in some areas are reporting 60 and 70 bushels and even higher yields which really reflects their good management,” says Saik. “They are using conservation farming practices, good crop
genetics, good nutrient management, and proper weed and disease control, for example and that all contributes to some pretty exceptional yields even under adverse conditions.”
Saik says the idea for the contest was sparked by a Canola Council of Canada announcement in recent years setting out a target for Cana- dian canola farmers to achieve an average 52-bushel canola yield by 2025. Currently the average canola yield is around 35 bushels per acre.
“The Canola Council of Canada set a target for a 52-bushel average,” says Saik. “But it got me wondering “what is the potential for this crop?” Averaging 52 bushels is great but with proper or perhaps extra management can we hit that 100 bushel mark? A lot of experts think we can.”
The Canola 100 challenge is sponsored jointly by Agri-Trend Agrology, John Deere Canada and Glacier Farm Media (publishers of Grainews).