Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 8:50 AM

Developing Canola Cultivars for the Pacific Northwest and Other US Regions.

Jack Brown1, Jim B. Davis2, Donna A. Brown2, Lindy Seip2, and Nichole Baker2. (1) University of Idaho, Plt. Soil & Entomological Sci, Univ. of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, (2) PSES Dept, Univ of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-2339

Very few crops have shown commercial adaptability to the dryland regions of the inland Pacific Northwest.  Small grain cereals (winter and spring wheat and spring barley) account for more than 80% of the acreage annually.  This has prompted many of the region’s growers to investigate alternative crops to avoid the disease build-up and other problems associated with monoculture cereal production.  Furthermore, concerns over soil erosion and farming sustainability have stimulated adoption of direct-seeding practices.   Canola has shown potential as a good rotational crop in the region, where the highest wheat yields are often obtained following a canola crop.  The Canola Breeding Group at the University of Idaho began developing canola cultivars over 25 years ago.  Traditionally winter canola cultivars were developed,  however, in 1992, the breeding team expanded cultivar development to include breeding spring canola, and canola-quality yellow and oriental mustard.  Future canola production in the Pacific Northwest is spreading from the traditional higher rainfall regions where annual cropping is common, to the drier regions where a fallow:wheat rotation has predominated.  A strong interest also has arisen in growing canola on irrigated ground.  This presentation describes the situation that is promoting increased canola acreage in the Pacific Northwest, and how new adapted canola cultivars have been introduced.  Finally we will outline changes in the breeding program designed to address grower needs for greater agronomic performance combined with improved oil and seed meal quality, which will be necessary to ensure international competitiveness of our future canola crops.