Slow early versus fast late – which works best and where?

Rohan Brill1, John Kirkegaard2, Danielle Malcolm3, Andrew Ware4

1Brill Ag, Ganmain, Australia,

2CSIRO, Canberra

3NSW DPI, Wagga Wagga

4EP Ag Research, Port Lincoln


Optimum start of flowering dates are established for canola across much of Australia but it is possible to flower at the optimum time by sowing slow varieties early or fast varieties later. We conducted 14 experiments across eastern Australia in 2017 and 2018 to determine the optimum sowing strategy (sowing date and phenology type) across a range of yield scenarios (0.4 to 5.7 t/ha). We found that early sowing of slow developing varieties was most successful at sites that had received high (>200 mm) fallow rainfall. At these sites there was also a consistent benefit of selecting a high vigour hybrid variety compared with a low vigour open-pollinated triazine tolerant variety. Later sowing of fast developing varieties was advantageous at low yielding sites and surprisingly at very high yielding sites. Canola growers can adjust their canola sowing strategy (sowing date and phenology type) based firstly on fallow rainfall and secondly on expected in-crop rainfall.


Rohan is an agronomist and farmer with Brill Ag (since 2020) at Ganmain in southern NSW with current research, development and extension projects in canola and pulses.  Previous to this, Rohan was an agronomist with NSW DPI at Wagga Wagga, focussing on tactical canola agronomy.

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