fA comparison of hybrid canola seed versus open pollinated canola seed showed the difference in vigour for Luke Milgate on a property at Serpentine, north of Bendigo in central Victoria.

Mr Milgate said he sowed Pioneer® hybrid 44T02 alongside an open pollinated variety on April 30 and received good rainfall in the fortnight that followed.

An inspection of the canola on May 27 showed a stark difference between the two canola options, with 44T02 some way ahead in terms of vigour.

“It seemed to fly off the deck,” Mr Milgate said.  “This stuff was at least a leaf in front.  It was good to see the difference in vigour.  I always like it when the canola fills the rows.  The crop competition helps with the weeds.”

“The hybrids should keep in front.  Even though it is still cold it is still really moving.”

He said they deliberately planted the two canola types side-by-side to compare the two throughout the season and, then ultimately, at harvest.

Attributes such as vigour, flowering period, height and pod depth will be analysed across the season culminating in a comparison of harvestability, yield and oil content in late spring.

Mr Milgate said the paddock grew a high-yielding barley crop the previous season and, after a very dry summer, the area was pre-irrigated prior to the canola plant.

A further irrigation is available, if required, in the spring time with the aim of achieving yields of between 3 and 3.5 tonnes per hectare from the canola.

The triazine tolerant 44T02 hybrid was chosen and atrazine was utilised in a post-sowing, pre-emergent application to control a range of weed species including radish.

Atrazine was also used with Select and Verdict herbicides post emergent.

Canola and lucerne are the main break crops grown on the property in rotation with cereal options although faba beans have been grown as another option in recent times.

Mr Milgate said the decision to grow canola was a good choice on the irrigated country and had been further justified with the excellent start to the winter crop season.

After good rainfall in the weeks following planting, the crop received a further 15mm in early July to help set up the canola through winter and towards spring.