The profitability of short-duration canola and pea rotations in western Canada.

Smith, E.G., Kutcher, H.R., Brandt, S.A., Ulrich, D.J., Malhi, S.S., and Johnston, M. (2013). "The profitability of short-duration canola and pea rotations in western Canada.", Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 93(5), pp. 933-940. doi : 10.4141/cjps2013-021  Access to full text


A long-term field study of canola and pea interval in rotations was used to determine the most profitable canola production systems. The duration between canola crops has been declining with most canola grown more often than the recommended once every 4 yr. Producers could be reducing their long-term profitability if the short-duration canola rotation results in increased disease and lower yield. A field study was conducted from 1998 to 2007 at Scott and from 1999 to 2006 at Melfort in Saskatchewan, Canada, to examine the long-term impact of shorter-duration canola and pea rotations. Canola and pea were grown continuously, or in rotations with wheat or flax for 2, 3, or 4 yr. Two canola types were used, one was a blackleg-susceptible conventional cultivar and the other a blackleg-resistant hybrid. The returns above variable costs for the production systems were determined over the last 4 yr of the study, the period of time when rotation impacts should be most evident in this study. The continuous canola and pea rotations were the least profitable rotations. Blackleg-susceptible canola had higher return when in rotations of 3 or 4 yr, compared with continuous or 2 yr. Blackleg-resistant hybrid canola had statistically similar returns for 2, 3 and 4-yr rotations, which were superior to continuous canola. Even with increased blackleg disease incidence and severity after several years of a short-duration canola rotation, the short-duration canola rotation was more profitable when growing the disease-resistant hybrid. With high canola prices, the returns from the short-duration canola rotations were as high, or higher, than rotations with more years between canola crops. The canola industry must recognize that producers have an economic incentive to use short-duration canola rotations and new systems (disease resistance and rotations) need to be developed within this context.

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