Revamped Third-Party Canola Trials In The Works

The cancellation of the Prairie Canola Variety Trials (PCVTs) in 2010 was disappointing for some, but in reality it was likely a good thing. Farmers undoubtably want third-party, unbiased canola variety information, however the original PCVT protocol left a lot to be desired. The testing protocol was — and is — in dire need of a freshening up. It looks like that will happen for 2011.

The Canola Council of Canada is spearheading the revamp of the PCVTs (or whatever will replace it). Denise Maurice, vice-president of crop production with the council, says that although the timeline is tight, seed companies, grower organizations and the council are all committed to developing a third-party trial system that works for all parties involved.

Farmers have made it clear they want access to unbiased new variety information, but they also want evaluations of new and commercial lines to be true to field conditions, Maurice says. That’s something the PCVTs fell short on, as herbicide-tolerant varieties were not sprayed with their specific chemistries.

While the trials should reflect field-conditions, they must also be science-based with a rigorous plot design and replication across growing zones to be representative. This, Maurice says, is absolutely possible, it’s just going to require some co-ordination between all interested parties.

“What’s important to note is that we’re working on a win-win situation here,” she says. “Seed companies need to sell seed and farmers want to buy it, so (the goals) are not at odds here.”

There are three main points that need to be worked out. The overall protocol of the trials that takes into account different herbicide tolerant traits was missing in the old PCVTs. Farmers would like to see commercial lines in the trials, not just new up-and-comers. There’s also the matter of who will run the trials. There were several different organizations involved in completing these trials, and Maurice says it’s important to get feedback from researchers and farmer-led research groups and others who put on the trials, too.

Maurice says that a new framework for the trials is to be completed sometime in late 2010 or early 2011, as no one wants to miss next year’s growing season. Farmers still have time to contact their provincial canola grower association and make their wants known. What do you want to see in new canola trials? See the sidebar for contact information.

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Contact informationfor canola grower groups:

CANADIAN CANOLA GROWERS ASSOCIATION: 1-866-745-2256 OR WWW.CCGA.CA B. C. GRAIN PRODUCERS ASSOC-IATION: 1-866-716-7170 OR WWW.BCGRAIN.COM ALBERTA CANOLA PRODUCERS ASSOCATION: 1-800-551-6652 OR HTTP://CANOLA.AB.CA SASKATCHEWAN CANOLA GROW-ERS ASSOCIATION: 1-306-668-2380 OR WWW.CANOLAGROWERS.CA MANITOBA CANOLA GROWERS ASSOCIATION: 1-204-982-2122 OR WWW.MCGACANOLA.ORG

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