Plant breeders have long recognised the increased productivity associated with hybrids:
have resulted in high levels of hybrid adoption in crops where they are available.
These increases are based on heterosis or “hybrid vigour”. Hybrids, the best canola seed on the market, are referred to as the F1 generation. The harvested grain from growing a hybrid is the F2 generation; and F2 progeny is expected to segregate for each gene in which the parent lines differed. This means a hybrid will not faithfully reproduce itself – it will produce a range of progeny that may differ in production (yield), disease resistance, height maturity and grain quality traits.
Bottom line: Hybrid vigour is lost in the F2 generation. This is the genetic basis of the risks associated with using F2 seed for planting.
The key findings from published field research clearly demonstrate the following agronomic, economic and marketing advantages of using commercial F1 hybrid seed:
Improved levels of hybridity and lower count of “male sterile” plants mean greater reliability in performance of the hybrid; Grain yields ranging from 7% and up to 30% higher compared to F2 hybrids; Bonus pricing on the back of a consistent trend to slightly improved oil content.
Designation of approved varieties by the breeder to meet industry trading standards is on the basis of first generation (F1) seed only; Lower levels of grain quality such as erucic acid, glucosinolates and green seed that may add the risk of discounts or grain rejection at delivery.
Recommendations to achieve the best results from growing hybrid canola:
Professional hybrid seed growers backed by specialist company agronomists ensure the quality of commercial F1 hybrid seed will exceed results from retained F2 seed. Testing of seed purity, germination and hybridity provides quality assurance and peace of mind. Using quality hybrid seed opens the opportunity to reduce planting rates and sow canola earlier without compromising stand establishment or grain yield potential. The importance of seed quality increases significantly under stressful field conditions. Professionally applied seed treatments protect your investment by using advanced formulations and specialist equipment that helps to ensure user safety and timeliness of sowing operations in addition to maximising the efficacy against targeted disease and pests.
Hybrid vigour of F1 seed allows earlier sowing timing and promotes quicker canopy closure that together maximize grain yield potential in canola. With good management, hybrid canola offers canola growers the opportunity to increase yields and improve yield stability over seasons which in turn underpins profitability across all growing zones. Paddock selection, crop nutrition, canopy management, crop protection and harvest hygiene are the common key practices. Always use F1 hybrid and balance the inputs for hybrid canola with the demonstrated benefits of hybrids to exceed your expectations from growing open-pollinated triazine tolerant varieties. If you recognise that treating canola seed as the basis for a high-yielding crop, you’ll choose F1 hybrids.
Delivery and marketing of hybrid canola is no different to open-pollinated varieties. Always check contractual quality specifications when using retained F2 seed. Price discounts are an important opportunity cost that may be hidden in using retained F2 seed. Australian oilseeds are widely recognised for proactive and responsible stewardship throughout the supply chain that in turn optimises profitability and protects access to existing markets while expanding into new markets.
Contact your local Pioneer® Seeds Australia representative if you require further information on the benefits of using F1 hybrid canola seed.