THE Hyola rape story does not end with the spring rapes joining the 1998 Recommended List. Canadians will have a herbicide-resistant spring hybrid next year and winter variants are being tested in Europe.
Howard Morris, who heads the Advanta breeding programme in Canada which produced the Hyola varieties just launched in the UK, expects herbicide-tolerant spring rapes to have around 80% of the Canadian market by 2000. Current Advanta biotechnology work is concentrating on introducing genes resistant to diseases such as sclerotinia and alternaria.
Advanta has taken out licences for the tolerance genes to both glyphosate (Roundup) and glufosinate-ammonium (Liberty/Challenge). Mr Morris says trials have shown no difficulties in using either chemical safely, even on rape crops under stress. But it appears that under Canadian conditions, at least, two herbicide applications are necessary. The breeding programme also includes the introduction of quality oil traits into rape varieties with hybrid vigour.