More than Just Yield - Importance of Secondary Attributes on the Rise for Canola Growers
In the fall of 2018, Stratus interviewed over 500 canola farmers from western Canada for the Canola Seed Focus360 report. The results from this survey highlight that yield and profitability are still the most important factors that farmers consider when choosing a brand of canola seed. Farmers are also now paying more attention to hybrids that also include other “key” attributes like clubroot tolerance and traits affecting harvestability.
Clubroot: The importance of clubroot is a growing concern for farmers in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The impact of this disease can be devastating, and incidence is increasing across western Canada (source: Canola Council) Based on this, it is not surprising that farmers consider clubroot tolerance an important factor in their canola seed purchase decisions. Since 2017, concern about the disease has been increasing and farmers are rating clubroot tolerance as more important than several other attributes. While farmers in Alberta are still the most concerned about clubroot, both Manitoba and Saskatchewan farmers rated the importance of tolerant hybrids higher in 2018.
Harvest Traits: Seed companies are working on improving harvest-related attributes like the ability to straight cut and minimize pod shatter in their hybrids. It is common knowledge that harvest in 2018 was very challenging for many farmers, and these attributes are more important than before. In fact, for 28% of the farmers surveyed, minimal pod shatter and suitability for straight cut were deemed more important than other hybrid attributes like weed control, disease control and seed cost.
Improved harvest traits like suitability for straight cut are deemed more important by farmers with larger canola acres (>1100 ac). Across Western Canada, this practice has been steadily increasing year over year in both the number of farmers using the practice and the number of acres.
As the demand for new attributes in canola hybrids increase due to new pressures during the growing season (like disease and harvestability), factors affecting farmer’s purchase decisions continue to shift.