While plot trials with newer winter canola varieties appear to be promising, McKenzie is very clear in advising farmers not to get anxious about sourcing seed and growing the crop in Alberta.
The research is being led by Habibur Rahman, canola breeder at the University of Alberta. McKenzie says it appears some new varieties of winter canola do well in research trials, but he says it is still some years before registered varieties and the proper agronomics for growing the crop will be available to producers. Some of the lines from Rahman’s breeding program are being evaluated at Lethbridge. The crop is seeded in late August and is ready for harvest by early July the following summer.
With even the spring-seeded safflower varieties being a limited-acre crop in southern Alberta, some farmers may be interested in watching trials on winter safflower varieties.
McKenzie says it’s early and it won’t be a large scale crop in any event, but winter safflower appears to have good survival at Lethbridge. While he included winter safflower in trials “just to see what it would do,” McKenzie says it may have some potential down the road.