Does it pay to retain hybrid canola seed?

Does it pay to retain hybrid canola seed?

March 11, 2024

What did we learn?

  • Using retained seed or a mix of new and retained seed results in poorer gross margins than using new seed.
  • Planting retained seed results in poorer establishment, irrespective of herbicide tolerance.

Across canola growing regions of Australia in 2023, 18 sites were analysed to see if it made financial sense to sow retained seed (F2) or a combination of new and retained seed (F1-F2) rather than sowing new hybrid seed (F1). Six hybrid varieties of differing herbicide tolerances were grown at each site.

What was the establishment like?

Figure 1: Plant establishment was significantly better using new seed and there was no difference between using a blend of new and retained seed or just using retained seed.

Note: F1 = New seed and F2 = Retained seed  

Targeted plant densities for each site was 40 plants/m2 and the establishment for the new seed treatments was significantly better than the blended and retained seed treatments. There was no benefit in mixing new and retained seed to improve establishment compared to just using retained seed. To achieve the same plant density of the new seed treatments, the seeding rate would have to be increased which increases the cost.

What about the gross margins?

Figure 2: The simplified gross margin for Hyola Regiment was greater than the blend treatments which was greater than the retained seed treatments across 18 sites.

Note: Simplified gross margin = Grain yield x grain price – estimated seed cost. F1 = New seed and F2 = Retained seed

In general, as the site mean yield increases, so does the gross margin of F1 seed compared with F2 or an F1-F2 blend. Interestingly, there is minimal or no difference between treatments at very low yielding sites, however in these regions once all costs were considered it is questionable whether it is economic to grow canola.

To access the full report, download the research.

Technical Development contact details: Andrew Heinrich 0473 520 818 or andrew.heinrich@advantaseeds.com

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