You hop off the combine after successfully harvesting a field, only to see shiny little canola seeds left on the ground like little lost gems. What went wrong? Harvest is where the rubber meets the road in terms of finding out how your canola genetics stand up. Choosing hybrids with a strong shatter score can give you confidence that your harvest will end up in the combine's hopper, not scattered on the ground.
One of the annual trials at WinField United Canada’s Answer Plot® focuses on evaluating pod shatter performance of CROPLAN® canola and our experimental hybrids in comparison to two check varieties that have established ratings on the Canola Council of Canada’s (CCC) canola shatter rating scale.
Martin Carr, Agronomy Manager with WinField United Canada, explains, “while we rank our hybrids based on the Canola Council’s rating scale, we also take the extra step of differentiating between yield losses caused by pod drop versus pod shatter.” Gaining these insights allows growers to make informed decisions to minimize yield losses.
Examples of pod drop and shatter in a canola field. Source: Answer Plot Research Site
Harvest trays are placed in the trial to capture both pod drop and pod shatter from each replicated product. By positioning the trays before the canopy closes, and leaving the trays until after harvest, losses due to environmental conditions, maturity and harvest are all captured. This comprehensive approach ensures that we account for all sources of yield loss.
The trial is desiccated with diquat when the latest maturing variety reaches 100% seed colour change, with 90% of the seeds fully turned brown. Following the application, the trial is left standing for six to eight weeks to give a genuine test of the genetics.
“Sometimes people wonder why we leave this trial so late; this is to reflect the worst case scenario where harvest has been delayed well into the fall,” said Carr. “What’s really fun with this trial is that sometimes you’ll get a snowfall or a strong wind; extreme weather events that truly induce shatter and put the genetics to the test.”
To differentiate between pod drop and pod shatter, we analyze the contents of the harvest pan. Seeds in the pan indicate shatter, while whole pods found in the pan represent pod drop. The individual pods and seeds are hand-harvested and weighed separately and used to calculate the shatter score.
The pod shatter trials conducted at Answer Plot provide valuable data on hybrid performance, helping us understand the impact of genetics and environmental factors on pod integrity. Our comprehensive evaluation process provides a shatter score for each CROPLAN hybrid to ensure farmers can make data-proven decisions so you can confidently choose the CROPLAN hybrid that best fits your operation.
Check out the CROPLAN canola lineup here.
Martin Carr, PAg, CCA, 4R-NMS, Agronomy Manager West, - WinField United Canada