April 2, 2015 - Issue 5

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Early seeding | On-farm research | Rotation

  • Agronomy topics for April

    Sock test on opener Sekulic small

    Warm weather, sunny days and bare fields have growers itching to get #plant15 underway. While waiting, take time to get the seeding tool in top shape, prep the sprayer, and put the finishing touches on the rotation plan.

    The photo above shows a “sock test” on a drill opener. Have you ever wondered what canola seed looks like after it’s gone through your metering system, hoses, manifolds and openers? A sock test is a good way to find out.

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  • Three canola studies looking for grower partners

    Sclerotia depots are small mats containing sclerotia. They are buried just under the soil surface and monitored to see when apothecia emerge.

    Want to get involved in a research project? Here are three studies looking for grower partners:

    READ MORE

  • Seed rate: Start at 5 lb./ac. and tweak from there

    Hybrid canola stands with fewer than 5 plants per square foot cannot reach their yield potential. You want at least 5 plants and ideally 7-10 to allow for some plant loss to disease and insects.

    For growers who want to keep things simple, a standard seeding rate of 5 lb./ac. should meet the basic needs of stand establishment — as long as all other steps for a good stand are followed.

    Growers who want a seeding rate that establishes 7 to 10 plants per square foot — 4 plants is about the minimum but you should add a few extra plants for a safety cushion — will want to adjust the seeding rate based on seeding date (cool soils may require a higher seeding rate given the likelihood of higher seeding mortality) and thousand seed weight. Read how to do that.

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  • Long spring increases value of pre-seed burnoff

    Stork's bill (bottom) and dandelion (top)

    Weeds may start re-growing and emerging sooner this year if the weather stays warm. The more weeds up and growing ahead of the crop, the bigger the return from a pre-seed burnoff.

    READ MORE

  • Frost: Average date of last spring frost

    Read more for maps showing the average date of the last spring frost in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

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  • Is it too early to seed?

    Very early seeding increases the frost risk and may not provide a yield advantage over your regular early seeding date.

    Early seeding usually improves canola yield potential and quality, but these benefits depend on survival of a sufficient plant population — ideally 7 to 10 plants per square foot, and a minimum 4 to 5. An early-seeded crop that is thin and uneven because of a damaging frost will not meet yield and quality expectations. Typically, the maximum yield benefit comes when canola is seeded in late April to mid May. The exact window depends on the region and the season. Before making the decision to seed earlier than usual, consider:

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  • Take advantage of pre-seed prep time

    Alberta crop insurance data show that early seeding is better for yield, but there is no distinct drop off in yield potential for canola seeded before June.

    The following pre-seeding tasks will help growers make the most efficient use of seeding time and get canola off to a good start.

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  • Get the drill ready for spring

    How to get the drill ready for spring: Level side to side and front to back, check each opener for wear, check shank trips, inspect all moving parts, inspect electronics, and do a sock test to make sure the air delivery system is not cracking seed.

    READ MORE

  • Rotations and risk management

    Blackleg disease rating: 2

    Scientific research in Western Canada has identified three factors that increase the risk of canola yield loss in short rotations. They are blackleg (shown above), clubroot and cabbage root maggot.

    READ MORE

  • Verticillium wilt committee to survey, set mgmt recommendations

    Verticillium wilt on canola. Source: MAFRD

    A verticillium wilt committee, with representatives from the Canola Council of Canada, the CFIA, AAFC, provincial canola grower organizations, provincial government specialists and life-science organizations, will examine the disease risk in Western Canada and come up recommendations for management. Step one is to survey more fields this summer and autumn.

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  • Clubroot: When genetic resistance no longer works…

    …The best management option left is the four-year rotation. Discovery of different clubroot pathotypes in central Alberta will change the rotation plans for some growers. No current varieties have strong resistance to these pathotypes.

    If growers have used resistant canola two or three times already on fields that were infested with clubroot, these fields are at high risk for having one or more of the different pathotypes. Any fields that have had moderate to heavy clubroot infestation are at high risk for pathogen shift to overcome resistance. Longer rotation is necessary to slow the pathogen shift that is occurring in these fields.

    READ MORE

  • Stand Establishment Video and Quiz for 0.5 CEU

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  • Events and postings

    April 13-15 — Canadian Global Crops Symposium, Saskatoon, SK More information.

    April 15 — Clubroot Information Seminar, Bonnyville, AB More information.

    June 23 — CanolaPalooza, AAFC Research Cenre, Lacombe, AB More information.

    July 5-9 — International Rapeseed Congress 2015, Saskatoon, SK More information.

    Summer job posting — Manitoba Canola Growers Association. Click here for more information.

    READ MORE

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