Trials confirm hybrid yield boost

Lauren CelenzaCountryman

Researchers and breeders agree that hybrid canola will out-yield open pollinated canola by 10 to 20 per cent.

At the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) trial at WANTFA’s Cunderdin and Meckering sites, hybrid canola has been out-yielding open pollinated for the past three years.

DAFWA researcher Muhammad Amjad said that with the canola price currently about $610 per tonne, an increase in yield could mean thousands of dollars more in growers’ pockets.

“We have found that, although every year has been challenging, we still got 10 to 20 per cent higher yields with the hybrids, ” Mr Amjad said.

“Whether it was Triazine Tolerant (TT), conventional, Roundup Ready (RR) or Clearfield, the hybrids were better.”

Mr Amjad said they were comparing hybrid and conventional canola in these three systems with a range of different nitrogen levels.

“The hybrids are also more responsive to nitrogen, ” he said.

“The only downside with hybrid is you have to buy the hybrid seed each year, however, the seeding rate can be significantly reduced with the hybrid so bringing down the cost.”

In WA, TT canola still takes up 90 per cent of production; most of which is open pollinated, with Cobbler the most popular.

A new TT hybrid canola developed by the Canola Breeders WA (CBWA) called Junee is showing potential for lower rainfall areas.

CBWA territory manager Mark Benns said Junee had excellent test results in Eneabba and Eradu.

“At Eneabba, Junee blitzed the rest by about 60 per cent and at Eradu by about 130 per cent, ” he said.

“It’s a similar maturity to Tanami, maybe a couple of days earlier.

“With hybrids there is that extra cost of having to buy seed but it should be outweighed by an extra 10 to 20 per cent yield.

“All the extra roots the hybrid develops really help the plant to hang on while waiting for the last rain.

“The open pollinated don’t have as good a root system and if they come under stress tend to wilt.”

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