Planting de-registered canola a risky move

Only a small percentage of prairie growers are seeding de-registered or soon to be de-registered canola varieties.

In Manitoba, for example, less than 0.5 percent of canola acres are seeded with a de-registered variety. However, that percentage is still too high for Anastasia Kubinec, manager of crop industry development with Manitoba Agriculture.

Kubinec is worried that an importing country could detect a de-registered canola variety in a shipment.

“The varieties that we are growing right now, they all have approved events of how that herbicide resistance is in that variety,” she said at the Manitoba Agronomists Conference, held mid-December in Winnipeg.

“We don’t want those (old events) to be showing up in shipments when a country has no longer approved that specific event within the canola.”

An event, in this case, is the method or technique used to achieve herbicide tolerance in a variety of canola. As newer varieties and new methods are developed, importing countries may decide to take older varieties off their approved list.

This means Canadian farmers must grow the approved varieties or face export consequences.

“When you sign the mandatory Declaration of Eligibility affidavit at the elevator, you are making a legal assertion that your canola is registered,” the Canola Council of Canada says on its website.

“If it isn’t, you can be held liable for the costs associated with contamination of a bin or shipment.”

The canola industry and most of the grain and oilseed sector in Canada is supporting a Keep it Clean campaign, reminding growers to follow label directions for pesticides and spray only with approved products.

Part of that campaign is about moving growers into approved varieties, but a small number of producers aren’t listening to the message.

“If you look at the MASC (Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp.) seeded acreage report, some of them do show up,” Kubinec said.

“With older varieties, when those events are no longer approved, we have to make sure … that we’re able to have our producers stop growing those varieties quickly.”

It’s hard to know why a grower would seed an older, de-registered canola variety, but it could be that it performs well on his farm and he wants to continue using it.

“So they kept some seed over, cleaned it and planted it again. That’s the brown bag seed,” Kubinec said.

Another reason is cost. Canola seed isn’t cheap, and some growers might be reluctant to write a big cheque to their local seed dealer.

Regardless of the reason, growing a de-registered variety represents risk for Canada’s canola industry. So the question becomes: what is being done to convince farmers to stop using de-registered varieties?

“To make them really understand the potential gravity of (that practice),” Kubinec said.

Delaney Ross Burtnack, Manitoba Canola Growers executive director, said efforts are being made to stop such practices and other practices that threaten grain and oilseed exports.

“There is a group coming together looking to take this Keep it Clean (program) to the next level,” she said.

“It is a policy being put together. It is still in discussion…. They are looking to pull together this national policy, spearheaded by the canola council, and with it will come a robust communications program.”

What canola varieties are de-registered?

The following are some of the de-registered varieties in Canada:

  • Roundup Ready Polish: Hysyn 101RR
  • Bromoxynil tolerant: 295BX, Armor BX, Cartier BX, Zodiac BX, Renegade BX
  • Liberty Link: Exceed, 2631 LL, Swallow, SW Legion LL, SW Flare LL, LBD 2393 LL, Innovator, Independence, HCN 14, Phoenix, 3850, 2153, 3640, 3880, 2163, 2273
  • Clearfield tolerant: 46A76

For a full list, check the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website here.
Source: Canola Council of Canada

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