Canola yields inching toward 100 bu. per acre

Agri-Trend’s Canola 100 agri-prize wrapped up with a winner announced during the Farm Forum event in Calgary.

The three-year contest set out to award the first grower to reach a yield of 100 bushels per acre on a 50-acre field, or the grower who had the largest yield over the three years.

Merle Klassen took the prize with a 85.88 bu. per acre crop near Linden, Alta.

He won 100 hours on each of a John Deere tractor, air seeder, swather, combine and high clearance sprayer.

Rob Saik, who managed the contest, said he’s pleased with the geographic dispersal of the competitors, as well as the different growing seasons they faced, because it helped establish a new bar in terms of canola yield.

“What has come as a result of the three years of data is proof positive that with the right genetics, the right agronomics, the right technology and the right management the new target for top farm managers for canola in Western Canada is now 70 to 80 bu. per acre,” Saik said.

“That’s borne out by the data. For three years the top guys were consistently hitting between that 70 to 80 bu. mark.”

In all, 50 yields were verified over the three years, and Saik is now compiling the data to see agronomic trends.

For seeding rates, “the medium number is 4.9 to five pounds per acre. It’s really common. And everyone reported in pounds per acre rather than in 1,000 seed weight, which is interesting because we’re trying to get them to think in thousand seed weight,” Saik said.

He said he’s considering having another agri-prize contest, and that if he goes through with it he’ll announce it during the Ag In Motion farm show this summer.

Saik said he took criticism about the Canola 100 contest because people said yield isn’t everything and that the important thing is profitability.

However, he said profitability would be very difficult to calculate for a contest because every farmer calculates their fixed-cost-per-acre differently.

“If I were to run a contest based on unit cost of production, well the fights would never end. Do you put in your depreciation or not? What rate of depreciation are you running? What about land, labour, machinery? How much do you pay yourself?” he said.

“I acknowledge the key driver at the farm level must be unit cost of production. However, the first chunk in that formula is the number of bushels divided by variable and fixed cost. So let’s start with the first thing. What is possible, is 100 bu.possible? It appears to me, based on this contest, that I believe that in the next five years that 100 bu. will be cracked.”

Glacier FarmMedia, owner of The Western Producer, was a partner in the Canola 100 contest.

Canola 100 challenge

Top three high-yielding canola growers, 2016-18:

  • Merle Klassen, Linden, Alta. (2017 results) 85.88
  • Kris Mayerle, Tisdale, Sask. (2018 results) 82.95
  • Mike Nelson, Wetaskiwin, Alta. (2016 results) 81.43

* Yields are in bu./acre after deductions for dockage and moisture.
Source: Trimble

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