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Canola cultivar mixtures and rotations do not mitigate the negative impacts of continuous canola

Harker, K.N., O’Donovan, J.T., Turkington, T.K., Blackshaw, R.E., Lupwayi, N.Z., Smith, E.G., Dosdall, L.M., Hall, L.M., Kutcher, H.R., Willenborg, C.J., Peng, G., Irvine, R.B., Mohr, R. (2015). Canola cultivar mixtures and rotations do not mitigate the negative impacts of continuous canola, 95(6), 1085-1099.


© 2015, Agricultural Institute of Canada. All rights reserved. High-frequency canola (Brassica napus L.) rotations increase canola production risks. From 2008 to 2013, direct-seeded experiments involving several variations of continuous canola were compared with wheat (Triticumaestivum L.) and field pea (Pisumsativum L.) rotated with canola at five western Canada locations. Continuous canola rotations involved sequences of different herbicide-resistant canola and two-cultivar mixtures of herbicide-resistant canola from different sources in the same year. Fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides were applied as required for optimal production of all crops. Rotating herbicideresistant canola types over years or mixing two cultivars of the same herbicide-resistant type provided no pest management, yield or seed quality advantages compared with planting the same herbicide-resistant cultivar type each year. In 2013, weed biomass was lower in canola preceded by other crops than most continuous canola treatments. Compared with continuous canola, when 1 or 2 yr of wheat or field pea and wheat were inserted into 3-yr rotation cycles, 2010 root maggot damage was reduced 6% and 2013 blackleg [Leptosphaeriamaculans (Desmaz.) Ces. & De Not.] incidence and severity were reduced 53 and 54%, respectively. Furthermore, yields were 22% higher when canola was grown only once in 3 yr compared with continuous canola and the wheat-canola-canola rotation. The most important mitigation strategy to ensure long-term sustainable canola production is to rotate canola with other crops.

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