Crop Nutrition Projects

Market research shows that 72% of growers apply the same fertilizer blend to all canola fields – and based on application volumes, they are underfeeding their canola crops. Fertilizer is the biggest input cost and producers are keenly aware that there are more dollars at stake for every canola acre versus other field crops.

These research projects are helping growers optimize their fertilizer investment through new technology and further understanding of crop nutrition.

Projects underway

Improving nutrient management in canola and canola-based cropping systems
Enhancing nitrogen management for canola production: addressing field, spatial and temporal variability with in-crop variable rate applications of nitrogen fertilizer
Nitrogen dynamics
Phosphorous fertilizer and canola oil analyses

Improving nutrient management in canola and canola-based cropping systems

(SC 3.2.1)
Objective: To improve the safety and effectiveness of seed-placed N, P and S by evaluating seedling damage, crop yield and quality as affected by varying sources of conventional and enhanced efficiency fertilizers applied alone and in blends across a range of environments. To determine the effect of the preceding crop (flax, wheat or canola) on yield, nutrient response, and soil quality parameters (aggregation, microbial activity, penetration resistance) in the following canola or wheat crop. To determine the effect of various methods of S fertilizer management on quantity and quality of canola for biodiesel production.

Research team: Dr. Cynthia Grant (AAFC, Brandon) – Principal Investigator; Drs. Jeff Schoenau and Fran Walley (University of Saskatchewan); Drs. Jean Lafond and Denis Pageau (AAFC, Normandin); Dr. Sukhdev Malhi (AAFC, Melfort); Dr. Brian Beres (AAFC, Lethbridge); Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC, Lacombe); Dr. John Heard (MAFRI); Dr. Don Flaten (University of Manitoba); Dr. Tarlok Sahota (Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Center)

Enhancing nitrogen management for canola production: addressing field, spatial and temporal variability with in-crop variable rate applications of nitrogen fertilizer

(SC 3.2.2)
Objective: To validate the refining N rate choices in canola using the delta-yield approach of Kachanoski (U of A) for specific fields. To validate in-crop, variable rate applications of N using optical sensors in canola over a wide geographical area using on-farm field trials. To determine the implications of the repeated use of optical sensors over the same area relative to the current methods of N rate determinations on overall performance and risk management using detailed small plot research trials.

Research team: Dr. Guy Lafond (AAFC, Indian Head) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Byron Irvine (AAFC, Brandon; Dr. Chris Holzapfel (Agriculture Research Foundation, Indian Head); Miles Dyck (University of Alberta)

Funded through the Canola/Flax Canadian Agri-Science Cluster, a joint initiative of AAFC and Canola Council of Canada

Nitrogen dynamics

(SC 3.2.3)
Objective: To determine fertilization and crop production practices that would reduce greenhouse gas (nitrous oxide) emissions while simultaneously attaining canola with high yield and quality.

Research team: Dr. Bob Blackshaw (AAFC, Lethbridge) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Xiying Hao (AAFC, Lethbridge); Drs. Neil Harker and John O’Donovan (AAFC, Lacombe); Dr. Eric Johnson (AAFC, Scott); Dr. Randy Kutcher (AAFC, Melfort)

Funded through the Canola/Flax Canadian Agri-Science Cluster, a joint initiative of AAFC and Canola Council of Canada

Phosphorous fertilizer and canola oil analyses

(SC 3.2.4)
Objective: To determine best application rates, timings, and formulations of phosphorus fertilizer for high quality canola oil production. With the recent increase in phosphorous prices, farmers are tempted to cut back on rates and depend on soil reserves to produce the canola crop. A better understanding of the implication of phosphorous management on canola yield and quality is needed.

Research team: Dr. Cynthia Grant (AAFC, Brandon) – Principal Investigator

Funded through the Canola/Flax Canadian Agri-Science Cluster, a joint initiative of AAFC and Canola Council of Canada