Exploring the ecological impact of canola-inclusive cropping systems in Western Canada

Researcher: Christian Willenborg, University of Saskatchewan, Ted Chastko, University of Alberta, Julia Leeson, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC),Saskatoon SK

Project Code: 3.7.5

Final Report: May 2013

Summary: Researchers in Saskatchewan led a three-year study to assess the potential effects of
increasing the frequency of canola in rotation on weed abundance, species distribution, community diversity and function in canola-inclusive rotations across western Canada. Using a combination of existing weed survey data and field surveys, the study results showed that herbicides play a major role in shaping the weed
community, although there was no indication that increased frequency of canola or herbicide systems had any effect on weed species diversity. However, the risk of developing herbicide resistant weeds under continuous canola production is high and extreme caution must be used when incorporating a risky practice such as this into a cropping system.

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