The Internet makes it much easier to find seed data and do some comparison shopping without attending a crop tour in summer or leaving your cozy office in winter. Many of the top canola seed producers, including Bayer and Dekalb, make it easier for farmers to log on and check out the latest developments and see how their seed performed in the latest season and in trials. You can gather this information and then cross reference across sites to get an accurate picture of what seed will help maximize profitability for your operations.
Bayer CropScience has information on its InVigor canola for the past two growing seasons for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Enter the website above, click on “Tools and Guides” on the left, then “DSTs.” This brings up and interactive map of the western provinces with the selected growing areas highlighted by an orange circle. Different areas were monitored for both the 2007 and 2008 growing seasons. You can click on your area or any other area you are interested in.
Once clicked on, two graphs appear below the map. The top graph shows the different varieties grown in that area and the bushel per acre production that was created by each. The bottom graph shows dockage, lodging rating, green seed as well as the chemical used on the crop. At the very bottom is a box containing the fertilizer blend used and agronomist comments on the plot. This gives you information about the plot and key things that might have happened during the growing season. All this adds up to a nice summary of information that is easily accessible if you know where to look.
This is the website for Dekalb seed information. The homepage is a map of Canada, and you click on the province you’d like to see information on. This then brings up a page were you select the data you want to view, whether it is a plot summary for long season canola, or a brief summary of information for short season.
Dekalb also has plot records all the way back to the 2005. Once these criteria have been selected, the page then gives you a list of relevant results for different areas in the province. This then brings up the same type of information that was given on the Bayer page, including the fertilizer used, type of soil, seeding and harvesting date, as well as how the bushels per acre compared with the competitors seed. The Dekalb site lacks a couple of the areas that Bayer provides, including agronomist comments and green seed count percentage. But Dekalb does provide some results for InVigor hybrids, so this can be cross-referenced with the same area on the Bayer page to narrow it down to the most accurate result possible.
Be warned that the Dekalb Canola Curling game (at www.dekalb.ca)can take away time from your research, so only click that link if you have some time to kill.
At this site, click “Yield data” in the blue banner near the top. Then click on your territory on the map of Western Canada. By clicking on any territory the yield results for that territory can then be viewed. However the only real information given is the location, yield, and competitive yield. This is fine for some basic research, but it does not give the in-depth plot analysis as the two aforementioned sites.
Pioneer Hi-Bred has no canola yield data on its website, but there is a product selection guide that gives plenty of information on varieties and the traits they all have. You can also compare the different traits of different product families and then focus on the products you are interested in, eliminating the ones you are not. This cleans up the form and allows you to focus on the information you want to see.
Pioneer also has a larger PDF file for download with a more detailed version of the product families and their traits. It would be nice however to see some yield data on their page to support their quality traits.
Canola Council of Canada
The Canola Council of Canada has a database of canola trials from 2008 all the way back to 1998. You can access this from the Canola Variety Comparison link under the “Grow Canola” heading on the website’s main page.
From there, you can narrow your search based on species, company, variety, herbicide tolerance and oil profile. You can use this to compare varieties with these specific characteristics. Or if you want information on a specific variety, simply choose that variety from the drop down list box at the bottom of the page. Once you’ve picked your criteria, results from the last cropping year are shown in table form.
Clicking on any given variety brings up all the information on that trial in a separate window. A nice feature of this site is that you can save a trial, and then start a new search for other trials while keeping that saved variety involved in your search results. You can also search based on your location to find trials conducted near your farm.
Jay Peterson farms near Frontier, Sask. He graduated from University of Saskatchewan in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness.