This article examines the changes in herbicide use in relation to canola production in Western Canada, comparing 1995 and 2006. The commercialization and widespread adoption of herbicide-resistant (HR) canola has changed weed management practices in Western Canada. Before the introduction of HR canola, weeds were controlled by herbicides and tillage as the leading herbicides at that time required tillage to allow for soil incorporation of the herbicide. Much of the tillage associated with HR canola production has been eliminated as 64% of producers are now using zero or minimum tillage as their preferred form of crop and soil management. Additionally, there have been significant changes regarding the use and application of herbicides for weed control in canola. This research shows that when comparing canola production in 1995 and 2006, the environmental impact of herbicides applied to canola decreased 53%, producer exposure to chemicals decreased 56%, and quantity of active ingredient applied decreased 1.3 million kg. The cumulative environmental impact was reduced almost 50% with the use of HR herbicides. If HR canola had not been developed and Canadian canola farmers continued to use previous production technologies, the amount of active ingredient applied to control weeds in 2007 would have been 60% above what was actually applied.
Nomenclature: 2,4-D; clopyralid; ethalfluralin; ethametsulfuron; glufosinate; glyphosate; imazamox; imazethapyr; sethoxydim; trifluralin; Brassica napus L