Comparison of certified and farm-saved seed on yield and quality characteristics of Canola
Relatively high seed prices and low canola (Brassica napus L.) grain prices created a controversy over using farm-saved seed from hybrids. Agronomic implications of saving seed from a canola crop were investigated by planting certified seed and saved-seed of an open-pollinated and a hybrid canola cultivar at eight site-years in Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada. In one series of experiments cultivars and seed rates were compared, while in another experiment seed treatments and use of sized seed were investigated. Results tend to agree with similar studies with other crops where agronomic performance was unaffected when farm-saved seed from open-pollinated crops was used, but declined when this practice was used with hybrid cultivars. Using farm-saved seed from hybrid canola (HY-FSS) compared with hybrid certified seed (HYC) reduced plant population density by 16 to 18% at the time of crop maturity and yield by an average of 12%, delayed maturity by 2 d, reduced seed oil content by 5 g kg–1, and resulted in a small increase in incidence of green seed. Yield and quality loss associated with using HY-FSS could not be recovered by using increased seeding rates or by sizing and planting only large seed. The inability to use the most effective combined insecticide plus fungicide seed protectant treatments with farm-saved seed resulted in a 20% yield loss compared with treated certified hybrid seed. Our study demonstrates the production risks of growing HY-FSS on plant density, yield, maturity, and seed oil content.