By Mike Stamm, M.S.
Developing and evaluating high-yielding and regionally adapted winter canola cultivars, improving canola cropping systems, and delivering new technologies and practices to growers are NIFA project priorities in the Great Plains. This project includes the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, Nebraska and New Mexico.
Priority traits for breeding include winter survival, higher yield, improved oil quality and quantity, blackleg disease resistance, and tolerance to sulfonylurea herbicide carryover and post-emergence applications of glyphosate herbicide. Hybrid parent lines are also being developed; KSU is the sole developer of TruFlexTM winter canola parent lines for top weed management. In fact, KSU genetics have resulted in 40,000 acres of winter canola for the past four years.
KSU’s National Winter Canola Variety Trials involving 29 cooperators to evaluate cultivars nationwide are ongoing. Variety performance looks at yield, winter survival, moisture, oil, protein and plant health. Lodging (bending over of plant stems), for example, is a problem that must be addressed in all varieties.
Canola cropping systems can be improved by addressing agronomic issues, input management and integrated pest management strategies. Current studies are examining on-farm crop establishment practices; seeding rate by variety; weed management; crop rotation, specifically double cropping after canola and herbicide carryover restrictions; and environmental variables on winter canola survival.
Michael J. Stamm, M.S., is a canola breeder at Kansas State University in Manhattan.