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Growing Insights from the Experts

How to Use Canola Yield Trials to Make Decisions

February 13, 2017

CanolaToMakeDecisions.jpgCanola trials provide the most relevant information used by growers to make purchase decisions. Although other data does matters, yield is typically the primary statistic used by growers to make purchase decisions. In the U.S., land-grant universities typically partner with seed producers to conduct field trials that provide regional information to growers regarding the performance of the varieties. Canola Growers in Canada tend to use a combination of private and public growers to conduct trials.


As a grower you have to define what constitutes a good variety for you. For most growers the goal is to optimize profits, which usually means optimizing yield. The second key is to identify canola varieties that grow well in your region and to determine whether to plant winter or summer canola. Canola planting should always be done in rotation with other crops to prevent soil-borne pathogen from flourishing.

The Canola Performance Trials (CPT) are produced annually by collaborative efforts of several canola interest groups. To determine the best performers in the region, the cultivars are evaluated for height, maturity date, lodging and yield. The seeds are sent to growers and universities by the seed companies. They are planted in research plots, grown, harvested and analyzed.


Understanding Important Statistics

There are two important statistics that growers want to understand: the coefficient of variance (CV) and the least significant difference (LSD). The CV tells you how reliable the statistical information is, often comparing results between locations. For example, based on the CPT, a CV of 0%-15% is acceptable in canola because of known variability within the species. whereas a CV of 0%-5% is acceptable in soybeans. The key is to remember that an appropriate CV will vary from crop to crop.

The LSD tells the growers if there is a measurable or significant difference between varieties. By looking at this number, growers can assess whether a variety they are considering will likely produce a higher yield. Understanding both of these statistics will help growers select good choices for their region.

Canola yield is ultimately affected by many factors. Environmental factors such as rainfall, temperature, soil aeration and insect and pathogen pressure can influence yields. In addition, each of these factors can change from year to year. Having yield performance data from prior years will help you select the varieties that have the best chance of producing a high yield and the best profitability from your canola crop.