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I have a few questions about these types of canola. I am starting to hear more and more talk about how farmers are starting to move away from the expensive GMO/ hybrid genetics and moving back to open pollinated varieties. Their claim is that they can get a better net return by using OP than the new technology. Seed cost is $2.20 lb vs $7.00 +. Can this be accurate? I never really paid much attention to canola for the past 20 years because with wheel lines I couldn't even consider growing it. Now that I have moved to pivots, I am in a position to look at starting to grow canola and the idea of OP appeals to me for the following reasons:

  • I normally do conventional tillage, so applying Edge or Treflan doesn't bother me.
  • Lower seed cost
  • I raise RR soybeans, so RR canola isn't an option, without using an expensive option of a neutered chemical like Basagran
  • Option of possible higher sell price as it is non-GMO (for the record, I have NOTHING against GMO as evidenced by my growing RR beans)
I would like some opinions about you guy's and gal's experience, if this is a viable option or if this is ludicrous to consider in our enlightened age of plant biotechnology. From the Peace country to the east side of Alberta, I am hearing about the guys who are going back to OP varieties. I even heard one guy say that he grows both and the yields are within a few bu of each other, most times the OP netting better.

Looking forward to the discussion and what opinions will come out of this.
 

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I can't see how the older varieties would stand up to the newer strains of Blackleg, clubroot and other disease pressure.

Perhaps a net return trial of several varieties inc hybrids, op, gmo/non gmo would help. Anybody know where you can get some Quantum II seed from?
 

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Think you would need a good premium for non gmo to compete. Best thing is to try a few different systems and pencil it out. I thought the same about hybrid and op rr canola but boy my eyes were opened. Think the non gmo would maybe justify if you saved your own seed, had clean land, find a premium, and not expect huge yields all the time. What you save in seed you pay in higher herbicide costs and lower yield. But I guess if your fields are clean that May not be a big issue.
This may help but what kind of canola varieties are grown in Oklahoma? From watching tv from down there it seems they grow non rr varieties or am I wrong?
 

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Clearfield variety are considered non gmo I think
No saving on seed though. I think the way to look at it is with saving your seed and giving up
30% yield net is same. So instead of 30 you only need 23. You lose on good years where your potential was 40 but win when you get hails or froze or... In the end it's a fun talk and
That's all.
 

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People forget before gm that canola was treated agronomically poorly. They also forget the years when Westar yielded 45 or 50.

I think there is merit to trying some older varieties and treating them like hybrids. I think we would be surprised.

We must not forget that 50 bushel canola existed before 1995...
 

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Sk grain, no. That is my answer. When guys grew 45 bushel westar, with far less fertilizer.

I would bet today's hybrids would theoretically be WAY more than 30% "better", because todays checks are way "better" than the old checks. Quantum used to be a check, and before that AC Excel was a check variety.

My point is that there is no way we are getting genetically superior cultivars like the breeders claim. If so, we should be getting 80 bushel canola. Instead, yields are stagnant.

Agronomy improved. Not varieties, IMO. No one put 140 lbs N on their canola in 1990, but guys around here still grew 40 plus easily with old, "poor" op varieties.

Same with all the other crops. Back when dad grew 90 bushel klages barley with low inputs in the 80's.

Varietal improvement is largely a crock, and it is seed growers and breeders being carried on the backs of two things when they claim how much better the new crap is, vs. old varieties:

Much moister conditions in formerly dry areas. And the second is MUCH better agronomy.
 

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Glad to hear I'm not the only one thinking about this. Like uthinkyourwet said nobody treated the op's like hybrids and not alot was known about growing canola even twenty years ago. We used to consistantly get 30 with the old varieties and now 30-35 on average but alot more costs involved. Not completely convinced by the reps saying the old varieties wouldnt hold up to the diseaese pressures like the new ones, they say what they need to make a sale!
 
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I have only ever grown op canola and i can say without a doubt the disease remark for the sale rep is crap, i never have a problem with disease ever, my neighbor has sclerotina across the road and i don't. But with a tight wheat, canola, wheat, canola, rotation, one year is not enough to for the diseased straw to break down under a thick damp canopy of crop. After last year i said never again with the OP canola because of the weed pressure, but unless i don't know how to sharpen a pencil, i cannot invest that much into seed and inputs with the low producing land that i have.
I have heard of guys saying "they need 40 bu/ac to break even", that scares me since i know my neighbors farm average is around 40 bu/ac.
 

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I would like to try a field of conventional canola but fear the weed pressure would kick my butt. Is edge a decent product for controlling weeds? Figure I would need to put down edge and still spray an in crop herb for the grasses.
 

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We never did a side by side trial as I did not think the OP variety would even come close. With Very similar land types and agronomy the OP variety yielded almost the same and even a bit better on large fields about 2 miles apart. I would say we netted $50+ acre more with the OP variety but the fields were not as clean.
That is what happened in 2014, next year or other years the results could be different.
 

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break even on canola

A bit of the op vs hybrid topic, but noted the one comment on 40bpa hybrid required to breakeven. Obviously, very diff calcs depending on area, but would think there plenty of AB areas where 40bpa to breakeven would apply and guaranteed insurance levels at this level may not be part of the calculation.
 
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