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BrettYoung and DL Seeds making moves in pod shatter research

October 20, 2023  Sponsored by

Pod shatter. It’s something every canola grower worries about. Whether from the weather or the swather, your canola pods are doomed to shatter at some point… or are they?

Pod shattering is a survival mechanism in nature and, despite decades of breeding and domestication, canola pods still have a natural tendency to scatter their seeds.

DL Seeds, BrettYoung’s canola breeding partner, has been researching pod shatter for years now, with huge developments in creating hybrids with resistance to this phenomenon. Jesse Mutcheson, pre-breeder seed and QAS manager at DL Seeds, says their biggest leap so far has been getting their first commercial pod shatter tolerant hybrid into the market: BY 6217TF. BrettYoung has branded this trait as Pod DefendR®, named for its high performance and dependable level of pod shatter tolerance.


But how did we get here?

Once DL Seeds finds unique traits or genes of interest, it takes years to implement them into a parent. First, there are multiple cycles of backcrossing to get the trait as stable as possible within each parent. After that, the first cross between two parents can be made to create an F1 hybrid.

“It’s not blindly picking two parents,” says Mutcheson. “You look at their trait packages on each side and make combinations with what you think would develop an industry-leading hybrid.”

For the first year of testing, most crosses go down to Chile where DL Seeds produces in contra-season. Once they come back, DL Seeds starts growing them in their trials and that’s where evaluation starts.

DL Seeds has two main tests for evaluating pod shatter resistance:

  • Wind mimicking — DL Seeds researchers use high-speed leaf blowers to mimic high wind on plots for an extended amount of time. From there, they give the hybrid a rating from one to nine, one meaning a low shatter tolerance and nine being the highest. These numbers coincide with a scale created by the Canola Council of Canada, where a hybrid pod shatter rating of eight is the gold standard for shatter tolerance.
  • Random impact test — during this test, DL Seeds collects pods off of mature canola plants and uses an indoor random impact test machine with an oscillating shaker and ball bearings to see how much impact it takes to shatter the pods. From there, a pod shatter reduction index is given to each hybrid for analysis.

Mutcheson prefers to use the wind test as it gives real data on the spot.

“Once we get the ratings in-house, we start comparing them to the other hybrids in that trial,” he says. “You can see where each lines up against the industry-leading hybrids and start looking at other critical traits like yield performance, disease resistance, and quality.”

In their most recent evaluations, DL Seeds had several hybrids scoring neck and neck with industry-leading shatter-tolerant products.

“We know our pipeline is looking very strong for shatter tolerance,” says Mutcheson. “It wasn’t just a ’one and done’ that we found something good. Our pipeline is full of quality hybrids that are going to be in demand when released.”

Keep your eyes on BrettYoung this fall as they announce a brand new LibertyLink® hybrid with Pod DefendR technology. With strong shatter tolerance and DefendR-rated disease protection, it’s sure to be a fit on any farm looking to take advantage of the LibertyLink herbicide system.

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