August 31, 2011 – Issue 22

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  • Issues of the week

    Some canola growers are swathing canola at 10-15% seed color change because they’re worried about getting all their canola swathed before a heavy frost. If no serious frost in the forecast, leaving canola standing until it is closer to the optimum stage of up to 60% seed colour change may improve both yield and quality. […]

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  • Crop and weather update

    Peace (Alberta and B.C.): Growers in the north are swathing, but for the rest of the region, widespread swathing will not start until the coming weekend. Alberta: Southern Alberta is around 50% swathed. While the southwest is further behind, a lot of acres will go down over the next few days. Swathing has begun in […]

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  • What are the risks of swathing too early?

    Some growers anxious about the calendar and the typical date of first killing frost are swathing canola early, at around 10-15% seed color change. At this stage, many seeds on the side branches may be watery and translucent. If this represents 30% of seeds, for example, growers must recognize that early swathing could mean sacrificing a large proportion of that yield — regardless whether the frost comes or not.

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  • Crack open pods before swathing

    Just because pods look dry and mature does not mean the seeds are ready for swathing. Sunscald and diseases such as blackleg, sclerotinia and clubroot can make plants look mature but the seeds may still be green. The opposite can also happen where pods look green but the seeds inside are ready. When assessing a canola crop to see if it’s ready, crack open pods on a number of plants throughout the field.

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  • Swathing when hot can lock in green

    Cutting canola in hot conditions will lead to rapid dry down and desiccation. Chlorophyll may not have time to clear from immature seed, which locks in high green counts. If growers feel they must swath, wait until temperatures cool down in the evening and then swath at night to take advantage of those cooler temperatures and any moisture from dew.

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  • Insect update

    Don’t let your guard down just yet. Berthas have been at thresholds in east central Alberta and western Saskatchewan fields in the past week. Some fields probably should be sprayed, as long as they’re more than 7 days from swathing. Scout in the heat of day.

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  • Look for clubroot as it expands toward Sask.

    Clubroot damaged canola plants have been spotted in a few new regions of Alberta this fall. Clubroot infected canola will often ripen prematurely. For this reason, clubroot infection is often confused with heat stress or other diseases such as sclerotinia, fusarium wilt or blackleg. Proper diagnosis of clubroot should always include digging up plants to check for gall formation on roots.

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  • Alternaria can make hailed pods brittle

    Alternaria has infected the pods of many hailed crops. Keep watching these crops. When infected areas make up 50% or more of the crop, swathing early may be the best way to salvage the yield in those infected plants if a large proportion of pod surfaces are covered with the black spots. Read more to see photos of alternaria infection.

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  • Condition hot canola immediately

    Canola combined in hot temperatures needs to go on aeration immediately, even if the canola is dry. Canola isn’t safe at high temperatures, especially if green seed counts are elevated or if there is dockage in the sample.

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