UCC 2014: Portage la Prairie, Manitoba

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August 8

Sorry folks, it has been quite some time since I’ve given an update. It’s hard to believe we’re already well into August!

There’s been quite a lot of change at the UCC site. Field conditions are quite good still, with just small showers here and there that were beneficial to the crop.

Back in July the mid- and high-input treatments received fungicide, while the low-input treatment did not receive any. Next week it should be easier to assess the severity and incidence of sclerotinia in the three treatments. Watch twitter (@BrackenreedCCC) and the blog for that update!

Take It To the Max: Sprayed at 15-20% Bloom with 126 ml/acre Proline, and then a second application at approx. 50% Bloom with 126 ml/acre Proline

Input Optimization: Sprayed at 35% Bloom with 126 ml/acre Proline

Rejean Picard, a Farm Production Advisor for Manitoba Agriculture, flew over the site with his UAV earlier this month. Here’s one of the shots he took.

Credit: Rejean Picard

L-low inputs (“No Frills”); M- medium inputs (“Input Optimzation”); H- high inputs (“Take it to the Max”)Credit: Rejean Picard

The plot was seeded North-South (front to back of the photo). The treatments are randomly replicated two more times to the West of the three blocks that are labelled. The untreated “guards” are the furthest East and West strips.

You can see that there is quite a bit of variability in the 10-acre block. Standing out in this site before it was seeded it seemed very uniform. It’s pretty evident with it seeded that there’s a slight roll to it. This really reinforces the importance of random replication to try to minimize field effects in the final results.

Justine Cornelsen came out with me last week to see how flowering was progressing. We estimated that the site had been in flower for about 3.5 weeks. Except for the wheel tracks, the canola is getting quite hard to walk through; I figure that’s a good sign!

Justine Cornelsen scouting.

Justine Cornelsen scouting.

There hasn’t been a whole lot going on in the site. It’s been very quiet on the insect front (fingers crossed that it remains that way). We saw a very small amount of damage from thrips, which causes this curling of the pods seen in the photo below.

Thrip damage.

Thrip damage.

We also took note of the amount of alfalfa regrowth, which overall is less than I expected. Here’s a photo below of one of the many carcasses we found.

Alfalfa carcass.

Alfalfa carcass.

There is definitely some regrowth, but the canola is really choking it out for the most part.

The root system out in the field is quite good, considering how much moisture we had early in the season.

root growth small

We also noticed what appears to be some slight root maggot damage on a number of the roots we pulled up.

Root maggot damage.

Root maggot damage.

Last week Lyndsey Smith of Real Agriculture came out. Here’s the video she shot: http://www.realagriculture.com/2014/08/canola-school-assessing-economics-field-ultimate-canola-challenge/

We hope to have Real Ag out during harvest and again to go over the final results. Stay tuned for that!

July 10
By Angela Brackenreed

Only July 10, the UCC site was just below 10% flower. There is definitely a degree of variability throughout the trial, with certain areas of the field being closer to 20%, and other areas not flowering at all (as I pointed out In a previous post, there’s also some canola that’s only about 3-leaf right now, but I think it is safe to say that is not a contributing part of this crop).

The “Take it to the Max” treatment will get its first shot of fungicide very soon, with the intention to spray it again about a week later (if conditions still favour infection). The “Input Optimization” treatment will get one application of fungicide, ideally at around 20-30% bloom. “No Frills” will not be sprayed with a fungicide.

Conditions certainly are favouring sclerotinia infection right now. I was walking through just shortly after noon, and the bottoms of my pants were fairly wet by the time I was done.
From the trail camera photos, I was able to see that it took about 3 days to get from first flower to almost 10% bloom.

First flower July 7

First flower July 7


10% bloom July 10

10% bloom July 10

At 10% bloom, you will find about 10 open flowers on the main stem of the plant.
Click here to use Bayer’s bloom stage guide.

The “Take it to the Max” treatment was sprayed with a second application of Liberty on July 7. The main goal of this application was to knock back any alfalfa re-growing. I had a tough time assessing how well this worked, as not every plant had regrowth before the second app was done. Perhaps next week I’ll get a better feel for how effective this was.
There is definitely some alfalfa regrowth throughout the trial, as we expected. The Liberty did a good job to slow it down, and for the most you no longer can see the alfalfa from the road. I am surprised how much of the alfalfa hasn’t regrown at all though, not at this point anyways.

Alfalfa regrowth

Alfalfa regrowth

The areas of cutworm damage are still evident, but I think we made the right choice not to spray, as these areas make up a very small percentage of the site.

Cutworm damaged area

Cutworm damaged area

You can see in front of the flowering canola some plants that are not nearly as mature and areas where plants are missing altogether. The weeds have taken advantage of these areas of reduced competition. You can see new alfalfa volunteers popping up as well as more green foxtail.

Another reminder to everyone that our Field Day is on July 29th from 9:30am – 3:30pm. Joy Agnew from Prairie Agriculture Machinery Institute in Humboldt, Saskatchewan just confirmed with me today that she is able to come out and discuss the findings of her canola storage study, looking at how to properly condition it for summer storage. There will be many other hands-on sessions, covering things like straight cutting assessment and disease identification.

MCGA will be providing us with lunch, and all growers in attendance will receive a Fiskars hand trowel to assist with scouting your canola! CCA and CCSC credits are available.
Check out the poster for more details. I hope to see you all at the end of the month!

July 4 update
By Angela Brackenreed

The UCC trial was sprayed on June 23. To remind folks, here is what we used for rates and chemical:

No Frills: 1.35 L/ac rate of Liberty
Input Optimization: 1.35 L/ac rate of Liberty + 35 ml/ac rate of clethodim (approx. 85 ac/case)
Take it to the Max: 1.35L/ac rate of Liberty + 50 ml/ac rate of clethodim (approx. 60 ac/case)

We would’ve liked to have gone with a higher rate of Liberty in the “Take it to the Max” treatment, but there is no registration with clethodim at the high rate of Liberty. With quite heavy green foxtail populations, we thought it best to keep the clethodim in the mix and stick with the lower rate of Liberty. The crew at CMCDC plans to spray the “Take it to the Max” treatment with a second shot of Liberty at the 1.62L/ac rate this week.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the degree of control on the alfalfa we got with Liberty.

Here's a look at the alfalfa control.

Alfalfa control.


Here’s a close up of the alfalfa control.

Here’s a close up of the alfalfa control.

It was difficult to see a noticeable difference between the green foxtail control across the three different treatments. I suspect the biggest difference could be how much regrowth there is in the upcoming days.

Green foxtail control.

Green foxtail control.

The field is showing some noticeable signs of moisture stress after receiving heavy rains over the July long weekend. Curtis Caver’s reported 73 mm at the CMCDC site.

Moisture stress.

Moisture stress.

Across the trial, you can see noticeable chlorosis and purpling of the petioles and leaves. Lower spots are showing the symptoms to a greater degree, but it’s really evident throughout.

Chlorosis

Chlorosis

The soil definitely appears quite saturated, but there is no water pooling on the site and I suspect the field will recover well.

Soil moisture.

Soil moisture.

Mark your calendars for the Ultimate Canola Challenge tour on July 29th! Topics will include a scouting refresher, straight cut assessment, cutworm damage assessment and more.
We will start at 9:30am with coffee and a light snack and wrap up in the early afternoon. Lunch will be provided by Manitoba Canola Growers Association. CCA and CCSC credits have been applied for. All canola growers in attendance will receive a Fiskars hand trowel. Hope to see you all there!

June 24th
By Angela Brackenreed

Justine Cornelsen (CCC Agronomy Assistant) and I walked out into the first replicate of the UCC site yesterday and quickly noted small patches of missing plants throughout. At first I questioned whether this was like this the week before as well, but after some inspection we started to find plants like the one in the photo below.

Cut at stem.

Cut at stem.

We didn’t see any cutworms actually feeding while we were out there, but we did notice that some plants were very recently clipped (just based on how “juicy” the tissue still looked).

Recently clipped.

Recently clipped.

We started to dig around on the perimeter of the damage, and quickly found the culprit. These guys were found just under the soil surface (less than ½” down). It was only about 18°C yesterday and very overcast, so I’m not surprised they weren’t further into the soil.

Redbacked cutworm.

Redbacked cutworm.

We found both redbacked and variegated cutworms in the trial. Click here to read more about cutworm scouting and species identification.

After consultation with John Gavloski, entomologist at MAFRD, we made the decision not to spray the field with an insecticide. The damaged areas were definitely under 25% of the field area, and the cutworms found were approaching or over the 1” in length. We will be closely monitoring the site to ensure damage does not continue to worsen.

The site was sprayed with herbicide yesterday. The canola was at around the 5-6 leaf stage. Ideally, the trial would’ve been sprayed earlier, but as anyone in Manitoba knows right now, contending with the weather has been challenging, and the priority at CMCDC was to finish seeding! Conditions certainly were not ideal for spraying Liberty, but waiting on better weather could turn out to be a fool’s game. We figured that spraying in less than ideal conditions is better than waiting any longer.

sprayer small

The herbicide applications were as follows for the three treatments:
No Frills: 1.35 L/ac rate of Liberty
Input Optimization: 1.35 L/ac rate of Liberty + 35 ml/ac rate of clethodim (approx. 85 ac/case)
Take it to the Max: 1.35L/ac rate of Liberty + 50 ml/ac rate of clethodim (approx. 60 ac/case)

Yesterday was around 25 days after seeding, and in the photo below you can see that some plants have just come out of the ground! I had noticed the bare patches (fairly consistent throughout the trial, in spacing of tire tracks) while out scouting since the canola came up and attributed it to compaction from the tires.

cotyledons in row smallcotyledons up row small

It is possible that these seeds got pushed down further into the ground due to the compaction. I dug up some plants, and a lot of them were certainly deeper than the rest of the crop, but that wasn’t the case for all of the plants. It is also possible that crusting kept them from coming up, and the rains have softened up the ground allowing them to finally come through.

Depth of seed in later emerging rows.

Depth of seed in later emerging rows.

Next week I will be providing some updates on how the herbicide worked on the alfalfa… stay tuned for that!

June 18
By Angela Brackenreed

I visited the site again on Wednesday (the 18th) to assess weed growth, do more plant counts, and assess the overall progress of the canola.

The canola is pushing out its 4th leaf. There is more visible flea beetle damage this week, but it is certainly sub-threshold. With that said, it will need to be closely monitored, particularly if the weather doesn’t promote quicker growth of the canola. It was interesting to see how much feeding was occurring on the underside of the leaves, and I also noticed some stem-feeding. This can likely be attributed to the cool, moist, and windy days we’ve been experiencing. There seemed to be slightly more crucifer flea beetles throughout the site, but I did see quite a few striped as well.

Flea beetles feeding on underside of leaf.

Flea beetles feeding on underside of leaf.

There is certainly a lot of moisture at the site, but no water pooling anywhere the day I visited. After scanning the trail camera photos (I successfully fixed the issue from last week), it’s quickly evident how dreary the weather has been! On June 15, there was some water sitting in spots.

Water pooling in plots.

Water pooling in plots.

I dug up some spots in a couple of rows to see what the seed depth was like. I was really happy to see how consistent it was!

Consistent seed depth.

Consistent seed depth.

Less than 1" seeding depth.

Less than 1″ seeding depth.

This is a bit of an estimate, but it appears that we achieved an actual depth of around 3/4” to 1”.

I did a second plant count this week to account for any losses due to seedling disease (the threat of seedling diseases has diminished at the 2-4 leaf stage). The average plant counts across the three treatments were as follows:

Take it to the Max: 70.67 plants/metre2 (7.07 plants/foot2)
Input Optimization: 66 plants/metre2 (6.60 plants/foot2)
No Frills: 66.67 plants/metre2 (6.67 plants/foot2)

Second plant count has lower numbers than the first count.

Second plant count has lower numbers than the first count.

Interesting to note that all of the plant counts have dropped since last week. What do you suppose the reason for that is? Seedling diseases? Fairly heavy competition from volunteer alfalfa and green foxtail? Excess moisture? Look back to prior blog posts to get more of a history on the 3 treatments. I would love to hear your feedback on twitter (@BrackenreedCCC), hashtag #PortageUCC.

Green foxtail patch.

Green foxtail reached 600 per m2 in some parts of the field.

There are spots in the field that have upwards of 600 green foxtail plants/metre2. This certainly isn’t the average across the field, some counts were lower than 100/metre2. Left unchecked, there’s a lot of yield to lose from this pressure (approximately 25% yield loss with 500 plants/metre2) Source: O’ Donavon, Alberta Environment Centre.

The folks at CMCDC wrapped up seeding today. This has been quite the challenge, just as it has been for most producers across Manitoba. Congratulations to the team! Now that seeding is done, they plan to start spraying. The UCC site will be sprayed early next week, weather permitting.

Will be interested to see what level of alfalfa control we get with Liberty. Will provide an update on that very soon!

June 13
By Angela Brackenreed

I visited the UCC site on June 9th to do a general stand assessment and see what was there for weed growth. I also planned on pulling my trail camera photos to show everyone how quickly the crop had been developing, but it turns out I had the time set wrong and the camera was only shooting during the night! Sorry folks! Hopefully I have that fixed now and we will have some good photos next week.

Using my quarter metre square, I randomly did counts in each of the treatments and averaged them to come up with my final number per treatment. Keep in mind, the seeding rate was the same across all three treatments, as was the pre-seed field work and glyphosate application. The variable right now is the fertilizer, which is detailed in a previous posting.

Here are the average plant counts for each treatment:

“No Frills”: 93 plants/metre2 (9.3 plants/foot2).
“Input Optimization”: 97 plants/metre2 (9.7 plants/foot 2)
“Take it to the Max”: 81 plants/metre2 (8.1 plants/foot2)

Taking plant counts with quarter-metre square.

Taking plant counts with quarter-metre square.

We were targeting 9 plants per square foot in each treatment. We came up short in the “Take it to the Max” treatment, but the average of all three treatments is almost exactly 9.0 plants/ft2. I will be doing more plant counts next week to see if there is any increase/decrease.

Cotyledon with chunk missing.

Cotyledon with chunk missing.

The stand was looking quite good, with minimal flea beetle damage. As you can see above, it seems something has been taking some chomps out of the cotyledons, but at this point I’m not certain of the culprit. There are relatively few plants that look like this one. Most look like the photo below!

Most of the stand looks like this.

Most of the stand looks like this.

The stage was cotyledon to 1 leaf. As far as grassy growth, it seems to be mostly green foxtail (aka millet). Broadleaf weed growth is mostly redroot pigweed, with some Canada thistle, sow thistle, dandelion, and buckwheat as well. There is also some alfalfa that survived the tillage and glyphosate.

Redroot pigweed and green foxtail.

Redroot pigweed and green foxtail.

Anastasia Kubinec was also out at the trial on June 9th doing a “Nitrogen Ramp” in the guard of the UCC trial. Zero to 100 lb./ac. of Nitrogen, increasing by 10 lbs for each treatment, was applied. Each plot is 10X10 feet. In a separate area of the guard, she also did 4- 10X10 foot blocks using different forms of fertilizer at the same rate. ESN, Super U, Urea and Ammonium Sulphate were applied. Will be interesting to see how the canola responds!

Anastasia doing nitrogen ramp.

Anastasia doing nitrogen ramp.

June 5
By Angela Brackenreed

Notice the faint whitish-yellow halo on some of the cotyledons in the photo.

Notice the faint whitish-yellow halo on some of the cotyledons in the photo.

Trail cameras were set up (one per treatment), so next week we will hopefully have some good photos showing how the crop is developing!

Trail cameras were set up (one per treatment), so next week we will hopefully have some good photos showing how the crop is developing!

I visited the UCC site on June 3, approximately 5 days after it was seeded. Already seeing definitive rows in the trial! Seems to be very good emergence thus far, but I decided to wait to take my initial plant counts as I believe there is still some canola to come up, and there still is the threat of losses due to seedling diseases. Watch for those counts very soon!

The faint whitish-yellow halo on some of the cotyledons is particularly evident in years when the canola grows quite fast. It is thought that the seed treatment (in this case, Prosper) translocates very rapidly due to this quick growth, which in turn creates the discolouration on the margins of the cotyledon. This is not believed to have any detrimental effect on yield.

May 28
By Angela Brackenreed

Alfalfa ground left a less than ideal seed bed for canola.  Anastasia Kubinec mentioned we would need some rain to soften things up and keep the seedbed from really drying up.

Alfalfa ground left a less than ideal seed bed for canola. Anastasia Kubinec mentioned we would need some rain to soften things up and keep the seedbed from really drying up.

Fertilizer was broadcast and incorporated on May 28th.

Fertilizer was broadcast and incorporated on May 28th.

The site was seeded the morning of May 29.

The site was seeded the morning of May 29.

Seed bag tag of the 5440 InVigor canola, showing the TKW of 4.6 grams per thousand.  Seed was donated by Troy Basaraba of Bayer CropScience.

Seed bag tag of the 5440 InVigor canola, showing the TKW of 4.6 grams per thousand. Seed was donated by Troy Basaraba of Bayer CropScience.

Anastasia Kubinec ensures good seed and fertilizer placement, and measures seed per foot of row.

Anastasia Kubinec ensures good seed and fertilizer placement, and measures seed per foot of row.

Due to space constraints at the CMCDC site in Portage, we had to put the UCC trial on alfalfa ground. Although this is definitely not ideal, the alfalfa stand had only been there for one year, so we decided we would be able to manage it. Any potential yield drag will be seen across all three treatments, therefore should not compromise the purpose of experiment. This could also serve as a resource in helping producers make decisions with regards to breaking pasture or alfalfa ground.

Once we felt we were seeing enough regrowth of the alfalfa, all three treatments were sprayed with 1.5 REL of glyphosate and later cultivated.

Fertilizer was broadcast and incorporated May 28 at the following rates:

No-Frills: 90 lb/ac of N
Input Optimization: 120 lb/ac of and 15 lb/ac of S
Take it to the Max: 150 lb/ac of N and 25 lb/ac of S

The site was seeded the morning of May 29. Only “Input Optimization” and “Take it to the Max” put phos with the seed, at 15 and 25 lb/ac, respectively. You can see in the photo some of the alfalfa that survived throughout the 10 acre block. Also notice the alfalfa field that would have been at the front of the trial.

All and all, the seeding operation went fairly smoothly. The initial plan to vary seeding rates between the three teams had to be cancelled, as they were unable to achieve the rate differences we had been hoping for. A seeding rate of around 5.5lb/ac was utilized for all three treatments.

We utilized the formula below to determine this seeding rate, setting a desired plant stand of 9 plants per square foot, and estimating that our survival is going to be about 75%. We took into consideration the less than ideal seed bed, but kept our estimation relatively high due to the warm soils, very adequate moisture and warm weather.

Seeding Rate (lb./ac.) = [9.6 x desired plant density (plants/ft2) x TSW (grams)] ÷ estimated seed survival (%, expressed as a whole #)

[9.6 x 9 plants/ ft 2x 4.6 grams] ÷ 75%

= 5.3 lb/ac

May 28

Field conditions at the Portage La Prairie Ultimate Canola Challenge site have been quite wet, like most other areas in the province, so no seeding has occurred yet. Curtis Cavers indicated that conditions have certainly improved, and IF the rain stays away (fingers crossed) the CMCDC crew is optimistic they’ll be out seeding the trial before the end of this week!

Figure 1. Prepared by MAFRD Crops Knowledge Center AgMet Program

Figure 1. Prepared by MAFRD Crops Knowledge Center AgMet Program

This spring began unseasonably cool, as you can see by the % of Normal CHU’s and GDD’s in Figure 1. Rainfall has been relatively high. That, combined with the initially cool temperatures, created quite challenging field conditions.

On the bright side, things have definitely starting looking up with the windy and warm conditions we’ve experienced lately. Like the flip of the switch, spring arrived in full force, with temperatures well above seasonal. You can see in Figure 2 that temperatures for Portage La Prairie are forecast to be over 20°C for the next week, with warm nights in the 15°C range.

Figure 2. Portage La Prairie Forecast.  Source: “The Weather Network”

Figure 2. Portage La Prairie Forecast. Source: “The Weather Network”

Despite the challenging conditions, there has been some progress made! The trial site was worked with a tandem discer on May 15th. It was then sprayed with 2.0REL of Glyphosate on May 23rd.

More updates to come soon!

—Prepared by Angela Brackenreed, Agronomy Specialist for the Canola Council of Canada

May 14

Manitoba will again run its head to head to head Ultimate Canola Challenge at the Canada Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre aka “CMCDC” at 370 River Road, Portage La Prairie.

Project Leads are:

Anastasia Kubinec, Oilseeds Specialist, MAFRD
Shawn Cabak, Farm Production Adviser, MAFRD
Curtis Cavers, CMCDC
Angela Brackenreed, Agronomy Specialist, Canola Council of Canada

UCC 2014 at CMCDC is a canola production trial intended to showcase three styles of input/cost management. Each treatment will have different cost of production budgets to work with, reflecting corresponding yield goals and a set selling price of the canola.  A “winner” will be determined at the end of the season based on return on investment (ROI).

3 treatments:
1) “No Frills” — reduced cost/ reduced inputs: Goal is to reduce costs and reach an average area (RM of Portage La Prairie) yield
2) “Input Optimization” — mid cost/ mid input: Goal is to have solid “ROI” with a realistic but ambitious yield goal
3) “Take it to the Max” — high cost/ high input: Goal is to push the limits on yield
 
Design: 3 treatments with 3 randomized reps per treatment. Guards on outside strips. 
 
The field equipment utilized, seeding date, pre-seed field operations, and the variety seeded will be standard across all three treatments to help showcase variances in input management. The variety has to be the most widely grown in Manitoba and be included in the Canola Production Trials.
 
Seeding rate (based on TKW, target plant stand, and % survivability estimate), fertility, herbicides and herbicides rates, as well fungicide use and rates, will vary across the three treatments. 
 
Cost of production will be calculated based on the “suggested retail price” of the products used. The overall cost per acre will be reported, but individual product costs will not be.
 
Soil tests results (sampled in fall):

1. Organic matter: 7.1%
2. Soluble salts: ~0.6 mmho/cm (1:1) at 0-6”
3. pH: ~7.8
4. N (0-24”): 38 lb/ac
5. Olsen P (0-6”): 19 ppm
6. Potassium: 306 ppm
7. Sulphur: 28 lb/ac (0-6”); 132 lb/ac (6-24”)
 
As of May 14, there are no field operations happening at the UCC site yet, but fingers crossed that we get some good drying conditions and things will be underway soon!

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