Alberta farmer wins Canola 100 Challenge

Alberta farmer wins Canola 100 Challenge
Dec 19, 2018

Merle Klassen won the use of a set of John Deere equipment for his efforts

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A farmer from near Linden, Alta. is Canada’s canola king.

Merle Klassen, who grew about 1,700 acres of canola in 2017, won the Canola 100 Challenge. Participating farmers tried to produce an average yield of 100 bushels per acre on a 50-acre plot.

Klassen’s yields came in shy of the 100-bushel goal, at 85.88 bushels per acre. But that yield was the highest among the producers who took part. Farmers from B.C. to Ontario were eligible to enter the contest.

Reflecting on his 2017 canola crop, Mother Nature’s co-operation proved pivotal in harvesting the high yields, Klassen said.

“We had near perfect conditions,” he told “We ended up with about 11 inches of rain on that plot of land. Environment Canada kept calling for days over 35 C (95 F), but we had all the smoke from the B.C. wildfires come in and hold the temperatures during the important flowering season, so it never got as hot as it could.”

The field didn’t receive any hail, which is unusual for the farm, he said.

Choosing the right variety played a role in the high yields as well.

Klassen used BASF’s InVigor L233P. The variety includes Pod Shatter Reduction technology and is resistant to blackleg.

Fungicide applications also helped Klassen win the contest.

“We sprayed fungicide four times,” he said. “We did a blackleg fungicide on our first herbicide pass, then we did three passes with a sclerotinia fungicide during the flowering. We didn’t take the diseases out completely, but I think our management programs really played a factor in these yields.”

Additionally, the yield competition proved educational for Klassen.

Improving soil quality with manure and compost gave the crops more nutrients to draw from, he said.

Klassen’s prize for winning the contest is the use of John Deere machinery.

He can put 100 hours each on a tractor, air seeder, sprayer, windrower and combine.

Merle Klassen/HighRiverOnline photo

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