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Frost | Green seed | Disease assessment
Swathing after frost. After heavy frost, swathing may be necessary to preserve yield. After light frost, leave the crop standing but check again after a couple days to make sure damage isn’t worse than expected.
Green scheme. Early swathing, especially in hot fast-curing conditions, can lock in high green counts. Wait until 60% seed colour change on the main stem if you can. Swath at night if necessary.
Clublegtinia. No, we have not found a combo disease of clubroot, blackleg and sclerotinia stem rot, but all three can be found in canola fields this harvest. Now is a good time to assess your 2014 disease situation.
They’re baaaack! Flea beetles are hopping around canola pods. They won’t be doing much damage — certainly not economic levels — but they make growers twitchy just the same.
This quiz asks three questions that could help growers harvest a higher quality crop.
Frost on pods can stop plant development and lock in green. It can also cause pods to split. However, a light frost may have no effect at all, and the crop will be better left to mature fully.
To determine which situation applies in a frost situation, do the following:
—Check standing canola the morning after a frost.
—Before taking any action, wait at least 4-6 hours after frost to allow the full extent of frost damage to become evident. The crop may look undamaged that morning but by the afternoon wilting, desiccation and pod splitting may begin. This crop may need to be swathed to preserve yield, but keep in mind that high green counts are likely.
—Light to moderate frost damage may take longer to show up. If no damage is evident after the first day and you decide to leave the crop, scout again after 2 to 3 days to reassess.
—If most or all seed is mature and you planned to swath the day after a frost anyway, then don’t bother waiting 4-6 hours. Just start swathing.
Swathing too early and in hot windy conditions can contribute to high levels of green seed.
Cutting canola in hot conditions leads to rapid dry down and desiccation, which doesn’t give chlorophyll time to clear from immature seed. Waiting until less mature seed is at least firm to roll between thumb and forefinger will help minimize yield reductions from early swathing, but significant curing will still need to take place in the swath to remove green seed.
The swath decision becomes more difficult in crops with plants at multiple stages of growth. For example, if some plants are at 60% seed colour change (SCC) on the main stem and other plants are still flowering, growers may want to hold off on swathing. Or if plants are large with many secondary stems, the main stem may be at 60% SCC, but seeds in side branches are still mushy and green. These seeds would wither up and amount to nothing if the crop is swathed at 60% SCC on the main stem.
Here are some tips to help with the swath decision on these fields….
Clubroot, blackleg and sclerotinia stem rot are found in many canola fields at this stage of the season. Taking time now to determine what diseases are present and at what levels can help with variety decisions and crop rotation planning for next year. Here are a few videos with helpful tips….
Flea beetles feeding on pods is unlikely to cause an economic loss. Entomologists have not set thresholds for late season flea beetle feeding, but it’s generally believed that numbers have to be very high — perhaps 100 per plant — before economic losses occur. You may also note that flea beetles can be highly variable at this time of year, with high numbers on some plants and next to none on others.
Thrips cause curled or twisted pods on canola. They are the only insect known to do this. But thrips can also cause damage like that shown in the photo above. The good news is that economic levels of damage from thrips are very rare.
Canola growers have three quality and trade issues to keep in mind when storing the crop:
1. Do not put canola in bins treated with malathion. Malathion is often used inside bins to control grain storage insects, however this insecticide can enter canola seed in storage and should not be used on bins storing canola.
2. Completely remove treated seed from bins, augers and trucks.
3. Clean out any animal protein (blood meal or bone meal, for example) from bins used to store canola.
Harvest is a farmer’s busiest time of the year and unfortunately one of the most dangerous. Fatigue and stress often leads to shortcuts and unsafe practices during this time but it is essential to take breaks, slow down, follow safe practices, and ensure everyone on the farm is trained to do the task at hand. Safe Work Manitoba provides the following safety tips at harvest…
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If you have general questions about the Canola Watch Email Newsletter, direct them to Jay Whetter.
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