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The nineties saw the emergence of seed-based technologies that brought new weed control options to growers, such as the development of herbicide-tolerant systems. Canola has been a prime example of where growers have adopted new seed technologies at record speed. To track changes in the canola seed market and life cycles of canola varieties, Ipsos-Reid introduced a syndicated series: the Canola Variety Market Watch. This marks the fifth year in Canada and the second year in the U.S. that Ipsos-Reid has been tracking the adoption patterns of herbicide-tolerant canola using this series.

Three waves of research in Canada examine grower intentions to their actual practice - providing tools early in the season for gauging potential sales and for fine-tuning marketing tactics, as well as an understanding of farmers' decisions. An Actuals wave has been recently introduced for the U.S. as well, probing into the recent explosion of the canola market.

Herbicide-tolerant varieties jumped onto the scene in the mid-nineties with a warm reception from canola growers. By 1999, eight in 10 canola growers in Canada were using these varieties. Concerns surrounding the marketability of some of these varieties were raised in the fall of 1999 due to their classification as "GMOs." And, there was a stall in their uptake from 1999 to 2000. However, this didn't appear to be a concern for canola growers in 2001 as nearly nine in 10, or 86 percent, seeded herbicide-tolerant varieties and nearly as many said they'd choose them again for 2002.

American canola growers have also latched on to herbicide-tolerant varieties as eight in 10, or 86 percent chose them last year and even more intend to grow them in 2002.

While weed control remains the most common reason for farmers choosing a herbicide-tolerant canola, other factors such as yield and past performance, are becoming more important.

For more information on the Canola Variety Market Watch series or any of our other syndicated seed studies - Wheat Market Watch or Corn and Soybean Market Watch - contact Holly Friesen, AgriFood, Ipsos-Reid at (204) 949-3109. AM

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