Provincial crop researchers in Newfoundland and Labrador have scored a first for the province this spring by seeding its first-ever canola field.
Dignitaries including Premier Dwight Ball and Christopher Mitchelmore, the minister responsible for the provincial Forestry and Agrifoods Agency, attended the seeding Friday near Pasadena, about 30 km east of Corner Brook.
Agency researchers and extension staff seeded 30 acres as a test project at their Pynn’s Brook research station and expect to harvest their crop in late August and/or early September.
According to provincial research specialist Vanessa Kavanagh, the test acres are planted to an InVigor variety, L140P, with L135C as a comparison. L140P is billed as suitable for all growing zones in Canada, while L135C is billed as suitable for growing zones in Quebec that have “confirmed clubroot presence.”
Canola, the agency said, has been grown in all Canadian provinces with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador. A few thousand acres have previously been seeded in other provinces in Atlantic Canada.
“If our ongoing research into canola production proves successful, then it could very well become an important crop for our province,” Ball said in a release.
The agency, now an arm of the Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development, said the success of its cereal grain program has so far helped identify “exciting opportunities” which are now part of a crop rotation system on the island portion of the province.
Grain and forage research so far “has led to a decrease in the cost of production as well as an increase in milk production for dairy farmers,” Mitchelmore said in the same release.
“Canola has the potential to become a component of livestock feed and is the next logical step for research in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
“The province’s grain research program has been a game changer for the agriculture sector,” Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture president Melvin Rideout said in the province’s release.
“As a commercial farmer, I see firsthand the importance of this research to our industry and canola can definitely be the next positive step for our province.”
Annual crops, such as forage, soybeans and canola “have the potential to transform the feed and food industry in ways that were not possible five years ago,” the agency said.
Agency staff cultivate and evaluate new crops, such as grains, soybeans, wine grapes, partridgeberries, cranberries and blueberries at Pynn’s Brook. Sites at St. John’s and Glenwood are dedicated to potato research. — AGCanada.com Network