Tactical break crop agronomy project: canola and pulse agronomy trials and information

Page last updated: Friday, 1 November 2019 - 4:15pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

The tactical break crop agronomy project is jointly funded by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Grains Research and Development Corporation. Its purpose is to improve the agronomy of break crops, particularly canola.

The project has a large research component with agronomy trials comparing triazine tolerant and Roundup ready systems and comparisons between hybrid and open pollinated varieties, within each system. Key research themes are canola plant density and the timing of nitrogen fertiliser.


The Tactical break crop agronomy project is a five year project and trials were started in 2013. The purpose of the project is to improve the agronomy in break crops. Currently, the trials are focused on canola, since it is the most widely grown break crop.

Canola is grown throughout all rainfall zones and is in an expansion phase in low to medium rainfall zones, as a wider range of adapted varieties become available and canola maintains its competitive price advantage over other options. As the area sown to canola expands into new areas, there is a large knowledge gap in terms of basic canola agronomy such as density, nitrogen rate and timing, seed system choice (open pollinated or hybrid) and herbicide system choice. In high rainfall areas, canola is being grown in very tight rotations and blackleg management and variety choice are becoming a focus of industry concern.

The project target is for WA growers to have the tools to choose and profitably manage the most appropriate break crop for their circumstances.

Canola trials

The tactical break crop agronomy project has a large research component. Trial work began in 2013. There are more than 25 trials across the grainbelt, each year.

Key research themes are:

Canola information

Canola information, produced through the tactical break crop agronomy project, includes;

  • Canola variety guide
  • Canola seeding rate calculator
  • Canola seeding rate information
  • 2014 Crop Update paper; Plant density of canola in the low and medium rainfall regions of Western Australia. (see 'external links' at right hand side of screen)
  • 2015 Crop Update paper; Timing of nitrogen for canola in lower rainfall areas in WA (see External links).
  • 2016 Research Update paper; Open pollinated canola still a better option than hybrid or retained hybrid seed in low rainfall areas (see External links).

Project team

The tactical break crop agronomy project is led by Mark Seymour (Esperance). The research staff are Raj Malik (Katanning), Martin Harries (Geraldton), Bob French and Sally Sprigg (both at Merredin). Jackie Bucat (South Perth) is the Development Officer with the project. Key technical staff are Pam Burgess, Stephanie Boyce, Joanne Walker and Laurie Maiolo.