Field days highlight new canola technology

Tuesday 6th November 2018

New technology that will allow canola to be sprayed with glyphosate later in the season was demonstrated at field days held across Australia in September and October. Approximately 700 growers and industry personnel attended the TruFlex® canola with Roundup Ready® Technology events in canola-growing regions of Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.

Bayer Product and Stewardship Manager for Rowcrop, Don Benn, said, “There has been great attendance at all the field days. We’ve had lots of agronomists, lots of farmers and a huge level of enthusiasm.”

Mr Benn said TruFlex canola improves flexibility because it has a wider in-crop application window of Roundup Ready® Herbicide with PLANTSHIELD® by Monsanto.

“There’s a more flexible spray regime out to first flower with TruFlex canola,” Mr Benn said. “You'll also be able to spray three times with 0.9 kilograms to the hectare or twice with 1.3 kilograms to the hectare with Roundup Ready Herbicide with PLANTSHIELD by Monsanto."

On current Roundup Ready® canola hybrids, Roundup can be applied twice in the crop from cotyledon to the six-leaf stage.

TruFlex canola will allow growers to control weeds that germinate later in the season without the risk of crop damage. This is particularly useful in split germinations of canola where individual plants could be at different stages for the herbicide application.

Mr Benn said that Bayer had been trialling TruFlex canola for several seasons and had conducted initial field days in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia in 2017.

Trial sites throughout the canola regions included weed efficacy work, crop safety, volunteer canola herbicide demonstrations and variety trials to showcase the technology in preparation for a proposed commercial release of the technology in 2019.

Seed companies Advanta Seeds, BASF and Nuseed have been incorporating the TruFlex canola trait into their breeding programs and will be the first to release TruFlex canola hybrids.

Limited seed may be available next year for farmers to trial alongside their current Roundup Ready canola.

This year’s demonstrations also included volunteer control work, which was conducted by Advanta Seeds who are planning to release TruFlex canola stacked with other herbicide-tolerant traits.

“We will not only have straight TruFlex canola hybrids but we will have TruFlex stacked with triazine-tolerant canola, TruFlex stacked with Clearfield® canola and the triple stack, which is TruFlex, Clearfield and triazine-tolerant,” Mr Benn said.

“Essentially it means that growers aren't limited to just one mode of action. They can use different combinations, reducing the likelihood of herbicide-resistant weeds surviving. The other benefit of the Clearfield stack is being able to plant a glyphosate-tolerant canola back into Group B residues."

Farmer George Burdett, who hosted the Lake Bolac field day in the Western District of Victoria, said it was good to see trials on his own farm.

“I actually get to see what is happening in our local environment, on our own farm and I can relate to that," Mr Burdett said.

He said one of the benefits of TruFlex canola would be to allow him to control late-germinating ryegrass right up to first flower.

“I'll work with our agronomist but to me, it is a bit of a no-brainer to go with TruFlex."

Tim Hayes, who hosted the TruFlex canola field day on his Warradarge property in the mid-west region of Western Australia said the new technology would provide greater flexibility in his farming system.

Mr Hayes said this season there was a late germination of ryegrass two weeks after the second and final application of Roundup Ready Herbicide with PLANTSHIELD.

“It is something that I think we'll definitely be taking up, just to be able to get the more robustrates and get in a lot later so you're going to pick up those later, staggered germinations of weeds."

Mr Hayes said the stacked herbicide trait offerings were of interest as part of growers’ rotations, for instance using TruFlex canola with Clearfield herbicide tolerance after a crop of Clearfield barley to ensure no crop damage from residual imidazolinoneherbicides.

“It really starts to open up your rotations where you can use different weed control options," he said.

Farmer Tim Hayes, who hosted the TruFlex canola field day on his Warradarge property in the mid-west of WA, with Bayer Regional Business Manager, Hugh Trenorden.

Bayer Product and Stewardship Manager for Rowcrop, Don Benn and farmer George Burdett of Lake Bolac, Victoria, at the recent TruFlex canola field day.

There was good attendance and positive feedback from participants at the 2018 TruFlex canola demonstration days across Australia.