Processes to segregate canola varieties
All canola growers need to know how to segregate different canola varieties to meet CBH Group delivery standards and international trading standards. Growers also need to discuss their planting intentions for boundary paddocks with their neighbour before planting.
The processes required to segregate canola varieties are similar to the processes used to segregate other grains such as feed barley from malt barley.
In accordance with best practice, growers should ensure that:
- all bags of seed are labelled
- seed of different varieties are stored separately
- seed is stored in vermin-free areas
- lot numbers of all seed sown are retained
- a record is kept of where each seed lot was sown.
Western Australian canola receival standards
The Western Australian canola receival standards are:
- CAN – non-genetically modified (GM) canola. This segregation is for non-GM canola varieties only. The adventitious presence of up to 0.9% of GM events approved by the Australian Government Office of the Gene Technology Regulator is permitted.
- CAG – canola. This segregation is for all approved GM canola as well as any non-GM variety.
Effective separation of canola varieties on-farm is key to delivering canola grain to the correct segregation. Lateral flow strip test kits are available from Foss Pacific to test for the presence of approved GM material in canola.
As part of the segregation process, growers must check the identity and purity of the seed to be sown.
Seed to be planted for CAN canola crops must be at least 99.5% pure or in other words contain less than 0.5% GM seed. Check the seed label for information on variety and purity.
Farmer-saved canola seed
Some seed companies allow growers to retain open-pollinated varieties for sowing in subsequent years. Farmer-saved seed should be tested by a commercial laboratory for the presence of approved GM varieties before sowing. This will provide confidence that the seed will produce CAN grain. Growers intending to retain seed must ensure that a 400 metre buffer is maintained between the seed crop and glyphosate-tolerant canola crops - including those on neighbouring properties.
Good machinery hygiene is essential for the delivery of segregated canola. Thoroughly clean all grain handling and storage equipment in between handling different varieties of seed or grain. The Australian Oilseeds Federation has published a useful guide titled 'Harvesting Equipment Clean-Down Guidelines —Canola'. It is important to ensure that farm staff and contractors know the variety and status of canola being grown on your property and the processes required to ensure effective segregation. Clearly label seed bags, silos and trucks to minimise the risk of accidental mixing of different grades or varieties of canola.
The Licence and Stewardship Agreement for glyphosate-tolerant canola requires growers to maintain a 5m buffer between glyphosate-tolerant canola crops and any non-glyphosate tolerant canola crops. If canola is planted within the five metre buffer zone this canola crop must be harvested and delivered as CAG canola.
Swathed canola crops are at risk of being moved into adjacent paddocks (including neighbouring properties) via strong winds or flood waters. Avoid swathing boundary paddocks if possible and if you must swath, leave a buffer of standing crop about one header width wide along the boundary fence.
If you are aware that heavy rainfall could carry plant material from your property onto neighbouring properties consider installing diversion banks to prevent movement of plant material. Develop a plan to manage any resultant herbicide tolerant volunteer plants. Discuss your management plans with your neighbours before planning canola in your boundary paddocks.
Growers need to be aware that staff of utilities such as Western Power, Water Corporation, telephone companies and others, may gain access to the way-leaves on their properties without notification or permission. This could lead to the accidental transfer of pollen and seed between paddocks, but the percentage should be extremely low and unlikely to affect the delivery standards of grain.
The control of all herbicide-tolerant volunteers must be part of your weed management plan. Good paddock records are also required to ensure that volunteer canola plants are controlled in succeeding crops with the appropriate chemical. Prevention is better than cure, so make every effort to minimise the spread of canola seed outside the sown paddocks. Always clean down seeders, swathers and headers within the paddock before moving the equipment to other areas.
Numerous herbicide options are available to manage herbicide-tolerant canola volunteers. Select a chemical that is compatible with the current crop in the paddock.
Livestock grazing canola stubble can excrete viable canola seeds for up to seven days. To minimise the spread of herbicide-tolerant volunteers it is advisable to contain livestock in an area of the paddock and supplementary feed them for a week before moving them to a canola-free paddock.
Be aware of and comply with any requirements for record keeping for your canola plantings. It is anticipated that the grains industry will continue to move towards adoption of quality assurance systems by all growers.