The future of WA canola hinges on the industry remaining competitive against other canola-producing countries with worrying trends showing that Australian canola yields are being held back by slow adoption of new hybrid technology.
Canola yields in Canada are on average 400 kg/ha higher than in Australia, which may seem a concerning statistic, but for Clint Rogers it’s an opportunity for local Australian farmers to increase their productivity.
Mr Rogers, Canola Product Manager for DuPont Pioneer Australia, says the company will be more focused than ever on closing the yield gap that now exists between Australia and other canola-producing countries through the introduction of new initiatives and technology.
From new canola hybrid technology to seed quality and responsible stewardship, there are a range of tools that Pioneer is focusing on to help close the productivity gap between Australia and its international competitors.
“The Closing the Yield Gap campaign is about highlighting something we’ve noticed has happened over the past 10-15 years and that’s a yield gap that has evolved between canola yields in Australia when measured against Canada, Europe and China.
“Canadian canola yields are on average higher than Australian yields and a lot of this comes from their very rapid adoption of hybrids – they’re nearly at 100 per cent adoption in Canada, while in Australia we’re around 30-35 per cent.”
There will be three areas of focus for the five-year ‘Closing the Yield Gap’ campaign, the first being yield advancement and the introduction of new hybrid technology.
“Our new OptimumTM GLY herbicide tolerant canola is very exciting and really is one of the highlights of our future line-up – this glyphosate-tolerant canola has a wider window for glyphosate application than current Roundup Ready® technology and while it’s still a few years away from commercial release, it is well evolved.
“Combined with this we are also focused on developing hybrids that offer greater yield advancement by improving crucial yield hindrances such as disease tolerance,” Mr Rogers says
The second area of focus is responsible stewardship, involving sustainable practices such as herbicide resistance management, while the third area emphasises seed quality.
“We know introducing higher yielding products is important to ensure industry competitiveness but coupled with this we are also focused on ensuring the longevity of the industry through our commitment to stewardship and seed quality.
“It is an exciting time for Pioneer; we recently held a Canola Technology Showcase in Northam so growers, industry and agronomists could see what the future of the Pioneer canola research program looks like.
“Following on from the showcase we will continue to implement a number of key initiatives to focus on stewardship, technology and innovation. Aligned with this we have an exceptionally strong line-up of new superior and proven hybrids for Western Australian farmers to choose from for this season,” Mr Rogers says.