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Canola: A modern crop for a modern era

Kenneth James Roche, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Doctor of Plant Health program is a professional doctorate program with a comprehensive approach to plants and agriculture. The program emphasizes a broad interdisciplinary education across all plant-related disciplines, practical learning, research, and experience through internships. For my final required internship, I worked as a senior agricultural research intern with Research Designed for Agriculture (RD4AG) in Montana. RD4AG is a contract research organization based in Yuma, AZ with over thirty-years of experience. During my three month internship at RD4AG in Montana, a large portion of my responsibilities centered on managing regulated canola trials that were undertaken in Montana for industry sponsors. I was responsible for gathering, monitoring, and collating, all the raw data as per the standard operating procedures outlined by the study director and sponsors and in accordance with Good Laboratory Practice standards (Title 40 CFR Part 160 FIFRA Good Laboratory Practice Standards). This internship allowed me to experience the intricacies of private sector research and product development prior to commercial release of a novel technology or hybrid cultivar. Globally, canola products are known to shoppers and grocers alike as a healthy edible vegetable oil and to livestock producers as a nutritious protein meal cake for animal diets. However, many people may be surprised to learn that the plant we know as canola did not exist more than forty years ago. This document examines the historical context regarding the domestication of Brassica crops, the transition of rapeseed to canola, and the breeding techniques, such as half seed breeding, protoplast fusion, introgression, and resynthesis, used to develop canola from traditional rapeseed species, i.e., B,napus, B rapa, and B juncea. The document has a special emphasis on the production requirements for canola in North America that include planting, fertility, water, weed, insect, and disease management. The document also provides details on blackleg disease (Leptosphaeria maculans (Tul. & C. Tul) Ces. & Not.) and the insect pest, the crucifer flea beetle (Phyllotreta cruciferae Goeze) in canola production.

Subject Area

Agronomy|Entomology|Plant Pathology

Recommended Citation

Roche, Kenneth James, "Canola: A modern crop for a modern era" (2015). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3738334.