Why is this research important for Alberta ag?
World population is on the rise and at the same time, farmers have to produce more food on shrinking land area in the presence of variable and unpredictable climatic conditions. In recent years, an agricultural perspective into photosynthesis in cropping systems has been recommended. Most crop improvements, to date, have come from manipulation of plant morphology to improve parameters such as harvest index, leaf area index, as well as from improved crop management.
Most of these studies show that the former approaches are at saturation for many crops; therefore, future advances should arise from an enhancement of the precision of resource capture and conversion by crops.
Canola contributes ~$26.7B to the economic activities in Canada and its per acre yield is about .91 tones; Canola Council of Canada set a target of increasing yield to 1.18 tones/ac by 2025. This ~30% increase is expected to be largely achieved through increasing the yield of canola cultivars.
What benefits can producers expect from this research?
To further increase the yield of canola cultivars, breeders need to incorporate alternate strategies, such as increasing photosynthetic efficiency (PE) of the cultivars. Researchers will work with the canola industry to integrate the knowledge gathered into their selection and breeding programs.
This project will evaluate photosynthetic parameters such as chlorophyll fluorescence, stomatal conductance, and photochemical efficiency and associated leaf traits in different canola germplasm in order to identify those with superior PE.
How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?
Results from this research will be presented in conferences and workshops like the International Rapeseed Conference, Brassica conference, Canola Industry Meeting & Innovation Day, and in workshops organized by the Canola Council of Canada. Results will also be published in peer reviewed journals for use by canola breeders and researchers for the development of improved canola cultivars.