The term canola refers to varieties of rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) that produce high quality, edible oils with less than 2% erucic acid and defatted seed meals with less that 30 micromoles of aliphatic glucosinolates/gram. Canola seeds contain about 40 percent oil by weight. The oil is used primarily as a salad or cooking oil and in processed foods. Canola oil contains less than half the saturated fat of any other vegetable oil, has a favorable mix of mono- and polyunsaturated fats, and like other vegetable oils contains no cholesterol. The seed meal produced after oil extraction is approximately 35 percent protein and is used as feed for poultry or livestock.

In 1985, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed its regulations to allow the use of low erucic acid rapeseed oil (canola oil) for human consumption in the U.S. The U.S. food industry quickly recognized the nutritional benefits of canola oil and began to market canola oil as a cooking oil and to utilize it in a growing number of processed foods. Rapid and widespread acceptance of canola oil by health-conscious American consumers has dramatically increased the demand for domestically grown canola. Domestic production of canola, however, has not been able to kept pace with this escalating consumer-driven demand.

Recently, Calgene developed and commercialized a new type of canola, laurate canola, which produces the world's first genetically engineered plant oil. Laurate canola produces an entirely new type of canola oil containing large amounts of the fatty acid laurate, not normally present in canola oil. Laurate has unique properties which make it a critical ingredient in soaps, detergents, personal care products, and some food ingredients. Identity preserved contracts available through Calgene provide southeastern producers an opportunity to participate in this new agricultural market.

Georgia farmers are in an excellent position to profit by supplying these expanding markets. Mild winters, adequate winter rainfall, the potential to double-crop, and the availability of local oilseed processing facilities make the southeastern U.S. a promising site for canola production. Research conducted at the University of Georgia indicates that canola can be grown successfully in this region as a fall-planted winter annual. Machinery required and production costs for canola are similar to those for wheat and profit potential is equal or better than that of wheat.

This report summarizes the results of the 1997-98 Georgia variety performance trials for both commodity and laurate canola. Because this is a new crop in this region, a large number of experimental lines are included in efforts to identify those well adapted here. Most of the varieties and experimental lines evaluated are of canola quality, but industrial rapeseed varieties (those that produce oils with greater than 45% erucic acid) have also been included in some trials. Varieties that do not meet canola quality standards are marked with an asterisk (*) in the tables. Only a few of the varieties tested are currently available to producers in the southeastern U.S. Inclusion in these trials does not imply recommendation for use in Georgia. For additional information on varieties and suggested production practices, contact your local county Extension agent or the nearest College of Agriculture Experiment Station.

Variety evaluation trials were conducted at five locations in 1997-98. Locations were Tifton in the Lower Coastal Plain region, Midville, and Plains in the Upper Coastal Plain region, Griffin in the Piedmont region, and Calhoun in the Limestone Valley region. For identification of the trial locations, see the map inside the back cover of this report.

Yields are reported in pounds per acre at 8.5% moisture. Yields may be converted to bushels per acre by dividing by 50 (50 lb/bu). Additional data such as oil content, test weight, beginning bloom date, maturity date, plant height, lodging, seed shatter, winter survival, and disease incidence are included when available. Information on cultural practices is presented in footnotes.

The least significant difference (LSD) at the ten percent level has been included in the tables to aid in comparing entries within trials. If the yields of any two entries differ by the LSD value or more, they may be considered different. Bolding is used in the performance tables to indicate entries with yields statistically equal to the highest yielding entry in the test. The standard error (Std. Err.) of an entry mean is included and provides a general indicator of the level of precision of each experiment. The lower the value of the standard error of the entry mean, the more precise the experiment.

This report is one of four publications presenting the performance of agronomic crops in Georgia. For information concerning other crops, refer to one of the following research reports: 1997 Corn Performance Tests (Report 647), 1997 Field Crops Performance Tests (Report 648) and 1997-98 Small Grains Performance Tests (Report 655).

This report, along with performance test information on other crops, is also available at our web site Additional information may be obtained by writing to Dr. Paul L. Raymer or Mr. J. LaDon Day, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Georgia Station, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797.