By Luis Del Rio Mendoza, Ph.D.
Through a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, North Dakota State University (NDSU) worked on improving spring canola varieties and conducted agronomic research on the crop. Nitrogen applications and clubroot management were examined.
Agronomic performance of hybrids is key to identify best adapted materials for a region. In South Dakota, 16 cultivars were evaluated at two locations in 2020. The top four entries (Invigor’s L140P, Canterra’s CS2600 and CS2300, Photosyntech’s NCC101S) had yields ranging between 1,930 and 2,964 lb/A planted with conventional tillage and between 1,084 and 1,375 lb/A under no-till conditions. At the no-till location, the trial plots experienced high pod shattering that influenced yield results.
High-oil and high-yield cultivars are key to maintain canola competitiveness in today’s markets. The NSDU canola breeding program is advancing a group of lines with these traits. The process will take approximately nine to ten generations before a line is selected for release. In early 2021, the third generation was produced. Lines from this generation will be evaluated in summer 2021.
Field trials that evaluated single and split nitrogen applications at North Dakota and Minnesota locations indicated that the former could enhance nitrogen use efficiency. Split applications combine pre-plant fertilization with foliar applications of nitrogen before bloom. This study should continue to strengthen the results observed in 2020.
Clubroot is a potentially devastating disease that was detected in a canola field in North Dakota in 2013. Efforts are being conducted to identify infested fields and sources of resistance to this disease. Surveys conducted in 2020 covered 44 N.D. counties and combined molecular detection of the pathogen in soil samples as well as traditional field scouting for visual symptoms. Infested fields with symptomatic plants were detected only in northeast N.D.; however, molecular tests indicated the pathogen may be more widespread than previously thought. This means an educational campaign should cover a larger area and farmers in northeast N.D. should use clubroot-resistant hybrids. Screening lines from a collection of canola accessions resulted in the identification of a handful of materials with promising levels. Efforts are underway to transfer their resistance into modern canola lines.
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented face-to-face field days in most states. Instead, research results were shared with farmers and commodity organizations virtually. Updated extension bulletins were produced to inform farmers of the latest tips on clubroot, Sclerotinia stem rot and blackleg management. The scientific community was also informed via manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals as well as through virtual meetings.
Luis Del Rio Mendoza, Ph.D., is professor of plant pathology at North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D.