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Muñoz-Valenzuela, S., G. Buzza, and R. Avalos-Pérez. 2002. Performance of canola in Southern Sonora, México. p. 131–134. In: J. Janick and A. Whipkey (eds.), Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.

Performance of Canola in Southern Sonora, México

Sergio Muñoz-Valenzuela, Greg Buzza, and Roberto Avalos-Pérez


Brassica and others closely related cruciferous crops are widely cultivated throughout the world as vegetable crops for human consumption, as condiments and spices for improved flavor of human diets, and as fodder crops for livestock feeding. However, the largest cultivation of these crops is for edible vegetable oil production. Four species of Brassica have been widely cultivated as oilseed crops, B. carinata, B. rapa, B. juncea, and B. napus. Where conditions are appropiate, namely cool temperate climates with good moisture availability, winter forms of B. napus are preferred and are the most productive. Most of the land area cultivated to oilseed Brassica in Europe and China is sown to winter oilseed rape. However, as latitude or altitude increased, the winter form of B. napus is supplanted by the summer form of B. napus or the winter or summer form of B. rapa. In Canada cultivation consist of approximately equal amounts of the summer types of these species (Downey and Rimmer 1993).

At present, cultivars of B. napus and B. rapa have been developed with both low-erucic and low glucosinolate (double low or canola) quality, and these are now widely grown commercially. In North America the term “canola” has been coined to describe cultivars that meet specific requirements for erucic acid in the extracted seed oil (less than 2% erucic acid as a porcentage of total fatty acids) and aliphatic glucosinolate content in the residual meal (less than 30 mm of aliphatic glucosinolates/g) (Downey and Rimmer 1993). It is likely that canola-quality cultivars of B. juncea and perhaps B. carinata will be developed in the near future, and, if this occurs, it will significantly influence the choice of oilseed Brassica species in some areas. Low-erucic acid strains of B. juncea have been obtained in Australia using the half-seed technique (Kirk and Oram 1981).

The development of low-glucosinolate B. juncea in Canada, required interspecifics hybridization of B. rapa and B. juncea (Love et al. 1990). Cultivars with low levels of linolenic acid has been developed and registered in Canada (Scarth et al. 1988). ‘Winfield’ has been released from Guelph University (Beversdorf and Hume 1990); ‘Cathy’ is a winter canola cultivar from University of Idaho, US (Auld et al. 1991), ‘Plainsman’ and ‘Wichita’ are canola cultivars from the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station (Rife et al. 2000, 2001).

Research conducted at the University of Georgia indicates that canola can been grown successfully 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 (Raymer et al. 1996). Advancement in production research have led to management recommendations consistent with the conditions of the Great Plains region. An increased oil consumption has led to increased demand for canola seed and a market interest by oil processors (Rife 1997). In developed countries, the production of edible oil from oilseed brassicas is now obtained exclusively from low-erucic acid cultivars and this trend is expected to continue.

The Yaqui Valley of southern Sonora, Mexico suffers from water scarcity, poor soil conditions, and biological problems such as damages of white fly (Bemisia argentifolii), that eliminated two important summer crops: soybeans (Glycine max) and sesame (Sesamum indicum). Since 1994, nontraditional crops have been tested in order to increase species diversity since only wheat, maize, cotton, safflower, and some vegetables are now cultivated. Crambe (Crambe abyssinica), castor beans (Ricinus communis), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), black chía (Salvia hyspanica), llantén (Plantago ovata), flax (Linum usitatissimum), amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus), kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), and canola (Brassica sp.) have been investigated. Canola shows promise because it is adaptable to the local environment, its performance has been acceptable, its water requirement is low, and three industry mills are adequate, each with a capacity to crush 600 tonnes (t)/day. The objectives of this study was to evaluate the performance of Canadian and Australian canola cultivars in southern Sonora, Mexico.


Research in canola was started in 1988 in the Northwest Agricultural Research Center (CIANO-INIFAP-SAGAR). Initially, the cultivars tested were rapeseed “00” (double zero) (‘Target’, ‘Zaphyr’, ‘Midas’, ‘Tower’, ‘Altex’, ‘Torch’, ‘Candle’, ‘Spain’, ‘Amarilla’, ‘Pachuca’, ‘Turret’, ‘Oro’, and others). The yields varied from 1.5 to 2.0 t/ha. From 1990 to 1994, other cultivars were tested (‘Tobin’, ‘BC-00’, ‘BN-00’, ‘Polo’, ‘Pierre’, ‘Westar’, ‘Crusher’), with similar agronomic results. During 1995–1996 winter season, three canola hybrids developed for Advanta Canada Inc. of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada: ‘Hyola 308’, ‘Hyola 330’, and ‘Hyola 401’ produced excellent results in yield trials. During 1997–1998, canola was introduced to commercial exploitation in small area (1.5 ha), with yields reaching 2.5 t/ha.

In southern Sonora, México, during the 1998–1999 winter season, the canola commercial area was 400 ha with good results. This surface was planted in a several soil types from the clay to the aluvial, as well in salinity soils; different seeding dates, seeding rates of plants, crop systems, fertilization, and water management, and others. The commercials plots was conducted for researches and producers. The grain yield obtained in early seeding date (Dec. 1–15), was an average 3214 kg/ha, however the highest yield obtained was 3610 kg/ha for ‘Hyola 401’. During the intermediate seeding date (Dec. 16–31), the grain yield an average was 2749 kg/ha, and the highest yield was 3000 kg/ha. During the late period (Jan. 1–15), the grain yield averaged 1941 kg/ha, but the highest yield obtained was 2500 kg/ha. In saline soils conditions, the yield varied from 1350 to 2300 kg/ha (Muñoz et al. 1999). Subsequently, during the next canola cycles, 1999–2000, 2000–2001, and 2001–2002, the area of canola in Yaqui and Mayo Valley (southern Sonora), was restricted to 2000 ha owing to low commercial support for oil crops.


Five cultivars (‘Kabel’, ‘Loreto’, ‘Lucía’, ‘Fabiola’, and ‘Tracia’) were received from Spain, and the genotypes: 45A01, 45A71, 46A75, were received from Ontario, Canada, materials that were similar to ‘Hyola 401’. A cultivar evaluation trial was conducted in the experimental field of the Instituto Tecnológico Agropecuario No. 21 (Ita 21), during 2000–2001 growing season. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with three replications, and a plots of four rows 80 cm wide and 5 m long. Treatments consisted of 20 genotypes of canola from Canada and Australia (Table 1). Hand planting was on Dec. 22, 2000 in clay soil with irrigation. Harvest was on April, 2001. Test weight, vigor, plant density, days to beginning bloom, plant height, days to physiological maturity, lodging, specific grain weight, and chemical analysis were determined.

Table 1. Agronomic characteristics of Canadian and Australian canola cultivars, Ita 21, México, winter season 2000–2001.

Cultivar or hybrid Specific
Days to
Days to
Hyola 401 68.0 3000 az 10 100 55 0 110 140
Hyola 42 69.3 2488 ab 10 100 58 0 105 140
Rainbow 67.2 2469 abc 10 100 75 0 130 135
Monty Harvested 68.1 2086 bcd 10 100 55 0 108 135
Range 68.1 2063 bcd 10 100 79 0 125 155
Scoop Genuine 67.1 2062 bcd 10 100 63 10 110 150
Scoop Harvested 67.1 2061 bcd 8 95 65 10 110 135
Karoo Harvested 67.9 2010 bcde 10 100 65 70 112 120
Monty Genuine 66.9 2011 bcde 10 100 55 0 110 130
Charlton 62.9 1906 bcdef 9 100 70 0 115 150
Karoo Genuine 66.1 1969 bcdef 10 100 65 30 115 125
Drum 67.2 1813 cdef 7 90 65 0 110 140
Narendra 66.8 1729 def 8 95 77 0 132 150
Pinnacle 68.1 1760 def 8 90 80 0 127 130
Dunkeld 66.6 1654 defg 10 100 79 40 128 150
Eureka 66.5 1596 defg 10 100 77 30 119 130
Grouse 69.1 1594 defg 9 100 73 0 130 125
Siren 67.5 1396 efg 8 100 78 0 123 120
Oscar 63.6 1333 fg 10 100 73 0 125 150
Clancy 69.9 1042 g 10 100 76 0 125 140

zMean separation in columns by Tukey’s Multiple Range Test, 5% level.

There were highly significant yield differences among the cultivars. The better three genotypes were ‘Hyola 401’ (3000 kg/ha); ‘Hyola 42’ (2488 kg/ha); and ‘Rainbow’ (2489 kg/ha) (Table 1). Yields decreased because of damage by aphids (Myzus persicae) and worms (Spodoptera exigua, Trichoplusia ni, and Estigmene acrea). Yields were considered low as compared those obtained under commercial conditions; with other soils and environment. Most commercial yield of canola obtained in the Yaqui Valley was 3610 kg/ha in a surface of 10 ha (Muñoz et al. 1999) with yield potential of 4000 kg/ha. The agronomic characteristics of the different genotypes are acceptable, but the major cultivars are short and early.

Usually, the canola harvested in Yaqui and Mayo Valleys is of good quality. Oil content is up to 40%. Well-developed canola seed contains 37% to 44% oil (Table 2). The fatty acid composition of the oil is genetically more variable than any other major vegetable oil (Table 3). Canola oil contains only traces of erucic acid, 5% to 8% saturated fat, 60% to 65% monounsaturated fats, and 30% to 35% polyunsaturated fats.

Table 2. Oil and protein content in a samples of Canadian and Australian canola cultivars, Ita 21, México, winter season 2000–2001.

Cultivar or
Chemical analysisz (%)
Oil content Protein Humidity
Hyola 401 43.17 21.01 6.16
Monty 44.14 18.22 6.02
Scoop 44.51 18.01 6.34
Karoo 36.86 23.29 6.75

zChemical Analysis: Valdez, D.H. and M.R. Ontiveros C. 2001. Laboratory of Molinos Unión del Yaqui-MUYSA. Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, México.

Table 3. Fatty acids analysis in a samples of Canadian and Australian canola cultivars, Ita 21, winter season 2000–2001.

Cultivar or
Fatty acidz
Oleic Linoleic Palmitic Stearic Palmitoleic Linolenic Erucic
Hyola 401 65.39 16.98 4.76 2.48 0.23 8.45 0.22
Monty 61.91 19.83 5.24 1.53 0.23 9.52 0.17
Scoop 62.29 20.22 5.11 1.45 0.42 9.07 0.18
Karoo 62.58 14.32 4.99 2.17 0.52 7.39 0.60

zChemical Analysis: D.H. Valdez and M.R. Ontiveros C. 2001. Laboratory of Molinos Unión del Yaqui-MUYSA. Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, México.


Commercial and experimental results indicated that canola can be grown in Yaqui and Mayo Valleys of México as a winter crop with high potential yield, excellent agronomics characteristics, acceptable seed oil content and quality, and a capacity of adaptation. The research conducted by Instituto Tecnológico Agropecuario 21 has identified adequate cultivars for commercial production and has a guide for canola production. However, the successful introduction and expansion of canola into México will depend upon development of adapted cultivars with high potential yield and quality.