Rapeseed (canola, Brassica napus L.) is the second major oilseed crop of the world and provides a source of healthy oil for human consumption, meal for stock markets and several other by-products. Several weed species afflict the sustainable production and quality of canola. Various agronomic practices such as crop rotation, stubble management (e.g. burning), minimum tillage, application of herbicides and cultivation of herbicide resistant varieties have been deployed to minimise yield losses. There is no doubt that herbicide-tolerant cultivars enable management of weeds which are difficult to control otherwise. However, widespread usage increases the risk of herbicide resistance. This is becoming a major impediment in sustaining high crop productivity. Allelopathic and weed competitive varieties are potential tools to reduce the dependence on herbicides and could be grown to suppress weed growth in commercial canola. Genetic variation and ‘proxy’ traits involved in both crop competition as well as allelopathy have been reported. Further research is required to link genetic variation in weed competition and allelopathy, and genetic/genomic marker technologies to unravel effective alleles to expand breeding activity for weed interference in canola.
Part of the book: Biological Approaches for Controlling Weeds