Decide based on probabilities not previous year

February 8, 2017 - Issue 2

Weather conditions are rarely the same two years in a row. That is why making decisions based on the snow-extended harvest of 2016 may not be the best economic choice for 2017. For example, seeding a short-season variety in April to avoid another potential September snow fall may not match up with the most probable growing conditions and profitable decisions for the area.

See Environmental Canada weather probability maps here.

Other decisions that can’t be made based on 2016 results:

—Sclerotinia stem rot losses are a risk each year. Fungicide control in 2016 may not have met expectations, but it should most years when risk factors indicate a spray is warranted. If growers didn’t spray in 2016 but feel they should have, for 2017 they may want to buy varieties with improved sclerotinia tolerance and pencil in the cost of fungicide. However, the decision to actually use fungicide should be made at the time of flowering based on conditions present. Significant sclerotinia pressure and yield losses driven by repeated rainfall and heavy crop canopies in 2016 may prompt growers to consider two applications when these conditions come around again.
—After a wet year, growers may want to work up fields to help dry them out. They might even buy a new tillage implement. But tillage is not the right choice each spring, especially if it dries out the seedbed or leaves clumps that prevent seed to soil contact.
—Two years ago, seeding canola at 1.5” to 2” deep seemed to work fairly well in some dry fields. But seeding at closer to 1” remains the better practice most years.

Canola Watch