December 5, 2011
The INRA Joint Technology Unit (UMT) on Sunflower, which associates CETIOM, INRA and INP-ENSAT, has developed Collecto, a software that can simulate the yield and seed oil content of sunflower within the supply area of a cooperative.
Collecto results from work by the INRA Joint Technology Unit (UMT) on Sunflower, based in Toulouse, which used a systemic agronomic approach to study the interactions between the choice of varieties, the environment and cultivation practices. The UMT worked for three years in two supply areas of grain cooperatives in SW France.
The agronomic diagnosis revealed that variations in oil content could be explained more by interactions between the environment (soil, climate) and cultivation practices than by the choice of varieties. It also appeared that excessive nitrogen fertilisation played an important role in the development of Phoma black stem, a pathogen which causes premature plant ripening. Finally, population density was identified as a determining factor in the yield and oil content of cultivated fields.
Designed for use by grain cooperatives with the support of CETIOM, Collecto is a tool which uses the Sunflo crop simulation model developed by CETIOM and INRA.
CETIOM is the research and development centre for oilseed crops (rapeseed, sunflower, soybean, flax) and industrial hemp. It employs 120 people spread between the different production areas in France.
CETIOM belongs to Proléa, which represents the French oilseed and protein sector and groups the FOP (the French Federation of Oilseed and Protein Producers), ONIDOL (the French Professional Organisation for Oilseeds and Fruits), UNIP (the French Union for High-Protein Plant Producers) and Sofiprotéol, its industrial and financial arm.
This sector exploits the production of 100,000 oilseed farmers.
The leading agricultural research institute in Europe and second in the world, INRA carries out mission-oriented research to ensure healthy and high-quality food, competitive and sustainable farming and a preserved and valorised environment. With nearly 9000 full-tenure employees and more than 1800 doctoral candidates under its supervision, organised into 14 scientific divisions and 19 regional centres, INRA benefits from numerous research units, acting alone or in partnership with other research operators, and experimental units. To encourage research in partnership with development actors, INRA has set up a series of Joint Technology Units (UMT) to facilitate the transfer of knowledge, the production of applied results and the joint construction of research questions. The Sunflower UMT in Toulouse now provides a focus for INRA research efforts on this species.
ENSAT is a Graduate School of the National Polytechnic Institute of Toulouse from which 150 engineers qualify each year in the fields of agronomy, the agri-food sector, agri-industries and the environment. It also offers training to qualify as an engineer via an apprenticeship. Through its seven research laboratories associated with INRA or CNRS, ENSAT contributes to innovation in the areas of agronomy, plant biotechnologies, livestock production, agri-food industries, functional ecology and the environment, and rural economics and sociology, and hosts more than 100 doctoral candidates and postdoctoral scientists.