GROWING hybrid canola has been very rewarding in most seasons and across most cropping areas over the last few years, and now that so much more canola is being sown, the combination of easier crop management as well as higher yields has become even more appealing.
BASF’s InVigor breeding program has aimed to keep setting new standards for both yield potential and yield protection for years.
It has progressively developed more technically complex varieties which are actually simpler to grow and harvest at full maturity.
Now that progression has resulted in a real game-changer: the first triple-trait TruFlex variety.
First, let’s talk yield. New InVigor LR 4540P is an outstanding early-mid season (4.5) performer.
“Results vary from site to site, of course, but overall it probably emerged as the strongest performer in the medium yield range that most growers can expect: between one and two tonnes a hectare.
“That confirms what we saw in the two previous years of internal trials across a range of conditions.”
Now let’s add in the flexibility and convenience which complement that outstanding yield potential.
InVigor LR 4540P is the latest in a series of InVigor TruFlex varieties that have included BASF’s exclusive PodGuard trait to strengthen shatter resistance.
PodGuard is a genetic trait that gives seed pods a stronger seam and makes them much less prone to shattering than the pods of other varieties.
Testing has shown that PodGuard varieties are far more resilient than conventional varieties whose breeders claim to have achieved high levels of shatter resistance by other means.
“There’s a pretty clear gap between PodGuard lines and the vast majority of other varieties,” said Mr Pike, who developed a testing protocol for making such comparisons.
The most dramatic demonstration of PodGuard’s benefits is when a late-season storm hits a ripe crop and far fewer pods are shattered than would be expected in conventional canola.
Those extreme weather events don’t happen every year, and the other advantages of PodGuard are possibly even more important because they are routine and can be planned for:
- no need to compromise yield by windrowing (swathing) at conservative timings; PodGuard canola can be left standing at up to 80 or even 100 percent colour change with no yield penalty and substantial potential gain;
- growers can save money and time by direct-heading, knowing that very little seed will be lost as the crop goes through the harvest machinery;
- harvest timings are easier to manage for a big program that includes harvesting other more time-sensitive crops first, because the PodGuard canola has such a long harvest window;
- volunteer canola becomes a much less prevalent weed in following crops because so much less canola seed is left on the ground.
As a bonus, InVigor LR 4540P is shorter than most other TruFlex varieties, making it even easier to harvest.
LibertyLink delivers options
InVigor LR 4540P’s third trait technology – in addition to PodGuard and TruFlex – is LibertyLink, which gives growers the option of spraying Liberty Herbicide over the top of the crop.
Liberty is the only Group 10 herbicide registered for use on Australian broadacre crops.
Like glyphosate, Liberty’s active ingredient glufosinate is a non-selective herbicide that controls a very wide range of both grass and broadleaf weeds.
That includes annual ryegrass populations which are now resistant to glyphosate, clethodim and herbicides with other modes of action that growers have previously relied on.
The purpose of including both the TruFlex and LibertyLink traits in a single variety is that Liberty herbicide can be used flexibly, or if and when it is needed, to complement and take some pressure off the glyphosate.
The suggested spray schedule in that case is that Liberty be applied in a tank-mix with a Roundup Ready herbicide at the 2-leaf crop stage.
A second, standalone Liberty application would then be made 7-14 days later, with the option of using glyphosate again any time up to early flowering if needed.
“There’s no need to use Liberty on InVigor LR 4540P if growers are happy with the standard TruFlex spray program, but it gives them a valuable option to introduce a new mode of action, plus potentially improve control of particular weeds and help slow the spread of glyphosate resistance.”
With such a package of excellent attributes, InVigor LR 4540P is already in understandably high demand.
For growers who miss out on securing as much InVigor LR 4540P seed as they’d like for next season or who are looking for a slightly different combination, there are four other excellent InVigor varieties to choose from.
InVigor LT 4530P is the only other LibertyLink hybrid available to Australian growers.
It combines the LibertyLink technology with triazine tolerance, again providing two modes of action to help control weeds like annual ryegrass.
While not yielding as well as the TruFlex varieties, InVigor LT 4530P scores strongly for those extra crop management options: the freedom to delay harvest without losing yield, and potentially gaining it, and to use an extra herbicide MoA if it’s required.
BASF has discontinued the popular InVigor R 4022P, which had an excellent fit in WA’s northern ag zones, because it has created a superior alternative.
Mr Pike said InVigor LR 4540P, along with InVigor R 4520P, will be ideal replacements in those areas, offering increased yield potential as well as the extra herbicide tolerance.
InVigor R 4520P is a great alternative to InVigor LR 4540P that matches it in most respects except for including the LibertyLink trait. InVigor R 4520P is another consistent NVT chart-topper with the TruFlex and PodGuard traits.
Growers who still prefer TT varieties, or want to sow both GM and non-GM canola, can choose between InVigor T 4511, the variety now phased in as a replacement for InVigor T 4510, and InVigor T 6010, a longer-season upgrade option ideal where higher GSR is expected.
All InVigor varieties are supplied treated with Poncho Plus and ILeVo for protection against insect attack and blackleg infection, and backed by BASF’s unique 45-day Replace MySeed coverage if the crop fails to establish.
There has been a very enthusiastic response from growers on both sides of the country to the imminent release of InVigor LR 4540P.
While BASF regards their newest hybrid as next year’s “must-try” variety, they confidently back the rest of their very selective but exceptionally flexible range to keep delivering great results as well.