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TruFlex is game-changing tech for canola

Improved traits in hybrid varieties give growers more options

Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to some of the new features in canola varieties this year.

Some varieties have been developed to handle higher rates of glyphosate with a wider window of application, while others have dual herbicide tolerance, and will give farmers a choice to use one or two different types of weed control chemistry.

Bayer Crop Science, with its Dekalb canola varieties, introduced TruFlex canola last season, says Tim Gardner, senior market development specialist. Truflex varieties allow producers to use a higher maximum rate of Roundup herbicide over a wider window of crop safety. The higher maximum rate also broadens the weed control spectrum.

Tim Gardner.
photo: Lee Hart

“It provides farmers with greater weed control options,” says Gardner. “Particularly, if weather conditions aren’t co-operating during the growing season, it provides farmers essentially another two weeks in which to spray.”

The key features of TruFlex canola varieties include:

  • The spray window is increased up to the first flower stage instead of the six-leaf stage for original Roundup Ready canola. This adds an additional 10 to 14 days to the possible spray schedule.
  • Farmers can choose application timing and rates. Rather than the previous maximum of .667 litre per acre of Roundup for the entire season, farmers now have the flexibility to spray two applications of 0.67 litres/acre up to first flower or apply one application of spray 1.33 L/ac. of Roundup WeatherMax up to the six-leaf stage.
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  • Improved weed control, and potentially higher yield, is the result of application timing flexibility and increased application rate. The original Roundup Ready canola applied at the recommended rate could claim control of 27 weed species. Spraying TruFlex canola with an increased spray window and higher rate can control 51 species, including wild buckwheat, dandelion, foxtail barley, Canada thistle and cleavers.

Gardner says no one needs to see a repeat of the 2019 seeding season, with growing conditions that in many parts of the Prairies produced uneven crop emergence. However, he says it is a good example of where the flexibility of TruFlex varieties fit.

Dekalb is listing three TruFlex varieties for the 2020 growing seasons: DKTF 96 SC (for straight cutting); DKTF 98 CR (with clubroot resistance); and DKTFLL 21 SC (for straight cutting and works with Liberty herbicide).

While Bayer introduced the TruFlex technology, it has been licenced to a few other seed companies.

Good first impression

Over at Canterra Seeds, their trials and customers’ first experiences with a TruFlex variety were so successful, they sold out seed supplies for the 2020 growing season before Christmas. The CS 2600CR-T variety was very well received.

“We had a number of trials and everyone was really impressed with the results,” says Shaan Tsai, Canterra canola product manager. “Farmers were really impressed with the early season vigour of the variety and were expecting good yields. And when the results came in last fall the yields exceeded all expectations.”

Tsai says Canterra growers appreciate the flexibility of being able to apply two in-crop treatments at .667 L/ac. rate or, if needed, a single higher rate of 1.33 L/ac. If the weather isn’t co-operating and/or a farmer simply has a lot of acres to cover that extra 10- to 14-day weed control window comes in handy, he says.

Tsai described CS2600CR-T in a good way “as a triple threat.” It has the TruFlex technology, it produces a high yield, and it also provides growers with another option for clubroot resistance.

Canterra showcased CS2600CR-T in several trials across Alberta and NW Saskatchewan. “Because of it’s unique clubroot resistance trait it gives farmers in the higher risk areas another option in rotating clubroot resistant varieties,” he says.

Dual herbicide tolerance

Other new technology just coming along for the 2020 growing season is canola varieties not only with TruFlex traits but also dual herbicide tolerance.

“The new varieties will be the first hybrids to carry resistant to both Roundup and LibertyLink herbicides,” says Gardner. “Farmers will have the flexibility to use one or both the herbicide systems as needed.”

He says, for example, it could be a situation where a producer is looking control a perrenial weed such a dandelion and choses to use Roundup in the first pass, and then comes back later to apply LibertyLink herbicide to control kochia. “They will be able to use one or a combination of the herbicides as needed,” says Gardner.

The dual herbicide technology will be available from different seed suppliers. At BASF they are calling it InVigor choice.

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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