October 8, 2014 - Issue 27

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Tips for fall fertilizer, weed control, bin checks and clubroot plans

  • Agronomy for October

    Late fall is a great time to take soil samples. Photo credit: John Heard, MAFRD

    Green blues. By October, getting crop off becomes the priority. Green seed is unlikely to turn anymore unless a lot of moisture (snow?) comes, in which case harvest may be delayed until spring.

    Cool days, but hot bins. Canola binned hot will retain that heat for weeks and likely months, with the risk of storage losses rising with each passing day.

    Good time for weed control, but… You still want to apply herbicides on sunny and warm days for best results.

    ProtectioN. Fall banding of nitrogen fertilizer is best done later to retain more of it for next spring.

    But soil test first. Late fall soil tests give growers time to process samples and get results and recommendations in plenty of time for winter planning and purchases.

    Pathotype shift = mind shift. Plan longer rotations for fields with the different clubroot pathotype.

    Photo credit: John Heard, MAFRD

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  • Don’t wait for green to clear

    Harvest canola combine

    In August and September, growers may want to let canola cure longer hoping for the warm and moist conditions required to clear green from their canola seed. By October, getting the crop off becomes the priority. Green seed is unlikely to turn anymore unless a lot of moisture (snow?) comes, in which case harvest may be delayed until spring. When good harvest days come along, the best option is likely to put canola in the bin.

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  • Canola stays hot for weeks

    Heated canola, the brown burned seeds, mean an immediate downgrade.

    Canola binned hot will retain that heat for weeks and likely months, with the risk of storage losses rising with each passing day. Growers who binned hot canola in September and August will want to check that the temperature has come down to a safe storage level of below 15°C. Putting hot canola on air or turning it on a cool day is essential. Ideally, this is done soon after binning, but now may be soon enough to arrest the heating process.

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  • Fall weeds. When is too late to spray?

    frost on dandelion

    Lower temperatures and shortened days in the fall trigger perennials such as Canada thistle, dandelion and quack grass to start moving sugars to below-ground tissues. Winter annuals and biennials are also doing this, but they don’t need a cool temperature trigger. Spraying these weeds in fall takes advantage of this downward flow, providing better control for next year. Read more for tips…

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  • Fall fertilizer: October better than September

    The key strategy of fall fertilization is to store nitrogen over the winter in the ammonium form – which is held on clay and organic matter – and is referred to as stabilized N.  Urea and anhydrous ammonia are both considered ammonium based fertilizers. When the ammonium form N is converted to nitrate by soil microbes, […]

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  • Late fall is a good time for soil tests

    Fall soil sampling. Photo credit: John Heard, MAFRD

    Take fall samples when soil temperatures drop below 10°C, or cooler. Because microbial processes in the soil slow down as temperatures cool, sampling late in the fall will provide a close representation of nutrient levels at seeding next spring. The cooler the better when sampling, but you want to make sure you can still get the probe down 24”. Submit samples for 0-6” and 6-24”.

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  • Clubroot shift and crop rotation

    Example of clubroot galls found at harvest time.

    Discovery of a different clubroot pathotype in central Alberta will change the rotation plans for some growers. No current varieties have resistance to this different pathotype, and varieties with a new effective source of resistance will not be available for at least the next year or two, or maybe longer. Longer rotation is necessary to slow the pathogen shift that is occurring in these fields.

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  • Have you used a soil pH amendment?

    relationship_between_soil_ph_and_availability_of_various_elements

    Soils with pH below 5.5 or above 8.5 can reduce canola yield potential, largely due to reduced nutrient availability. Amending soil with products such as lime to increase pH or elemental sulphur to lower pH can work, but it takes large volumes and a large investment.

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