Canola research is more important than ever to the crop’s future. With this in mind, the Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA) has awarded $220,000 so far in 2016 to help fund nine studies. Projects this year address disease identification and control in canola, primarily blackleg and sclerotinia. Additional research seeks to decrease production costs, increase quality of canola and identify end-use applications.
The research is funded in part by the NCGA as well as the North Dakota Oilseed Council. More funding will be provided in 2016 based on production research priorities. Below are the nine studies underway.
1) Canola Disease and Flea Beetle Survey for North Dakota. This project aims to determine the relative prevalence of the main pests and diseases affecting canola production in the region, characterize the relationship between timing of infection and fungicide applications on blackleg severity and develop a warning system for blackleg management.
2) Fine Mapping Molecular Markers for Breeding Higher Yielding Canola Lines. Researchers will help to develop new inbred canola lines with enhanced yield through fine mapping of yield genes and providing closely linked molecular markers for breeding high-yielding canola.
3) Nitrogen and Sulfur Fertilization Guideline for Canola Under Saline Conditions. The goal of this study is to develop nitrogen and sulfur application guidelines for canola production under salinity stress. It will determine the effects of nitrogen and sulfur, both type and rate, on canola production under saline conditions. Greenhouse observations will be validated under the field conditions.
4) Adaptability of Canola Breeding Lines in North Dakota. Part of an overall canola breeding program at North Dakota State University, this project involves the evaluation of two generations of breeding lines (F2 and F4) in multiple locations in North Dakota. Breeding generations will be increased in an off-season nursery.
5) Development of High Oil Canola Utilizing Double Haploid Breeding Technique. Plant scientists will develop breeding lines of canola with higher seed yield, seed oil content and better agronomy adapted to North Dakota. It also will test the heterosis of hybrids developed from elite breeding lines selected in 2015 and will introgress cytoplasmic male sterility and restorer genes into elite breeding lines for inbred line development for hybrid production.
6) Breeding for Frost Tolerant Spring Canola in North Dakota. This project will complete a protocol for a frost-tolerant study, identify frost-tolerant lines from a wide collection of Brassica napus accessions and develop molecular markers for frost-tolerant genes.
7) Row Spacing and Seeding Rate Influence on Canola Yield. Researchers will investigate the optimum row spacing in canola in conjunction with varying seeding rates to determine the greatest economic return per acre in canola production.
8) Rotational Crops Effects on Potato Production in the Red River Valley. This project stems from anecdotal evidence that canola in rotation with potato production can reduce the level of dirt clumps in potatoes and improve soil tilth. It will determine the effects of the previous crop on potato quality and yield, potato tuber blemishes and dirt clod weight.
9) Survey and Creating Awareness on Identification and Management of Clubroot. Through extensive field surveys, this project will determine the occurrence and prevalence of clubroot in canola in northeastern counties of North Dakota. It will also create an awareness of clubroot by conducting extensive outreach/extension programs in northeastern counties of North Dakota to stress to canola growers the disease’s importance and its effects on yield.
Barry Coleman is executive director of the Northern Growers Canola Association in Bismarck, N.D.