Nov. 2, 2011 – Issue 27

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  • Topics for the month

    A good time to test soils. Hold off on tillage. The seed decision. New insights for canola storage. Please fill in our Canola Watch survey.


  • Good time for soil tests

    Fall is a good time to do soil tests. Growers may have a extra few hours to take samples, unlike in spring. And with results and recommendations in hand before winter, growers have more time to plan their fertilizer programs for 2012, to order fertilizer, and to take advantage of reduced pricing opportunities that may occur.


  • Ask for an organic matter test

    Soil organic nitrogen levels in the top 6” of soil can range from 2,500 to 7,500 pounds per acre. Around 1% to 3% of that soil organic N mineralizes and becomes available for plant uptake each year. If soil has 5,000 pounds of soil organic nitrogen in the top 6”, it could provide anywhere from 50 to 150 pounds of nitrogen to the crop using those numbers.


  • Is that tillage really helping?

    Growers have made great strides in advancing no tillage and conservation tillage practices. General benefits include reduced fuel use, reduced soil erosion, higher soil moisture reserves (which are welcome most years), and a general increase in profitability. Any return to tillage, even if only one field or across the whole farm for only one year, should be weighed carefully.


  • What seed to buy?

    Canola Performance Trial data, which compares new varieties against current industry leaders in small and field scale plots, will be released within the next few weeks in print and on the Canola Council of Canada website. For growers eager to make early booking decisions, this article provides some other sources for variety performance information.


  • The air is cooling. Are your bins?

    As the outside air cools, air cycles within the bin tend to concentrate moisture at the top of the central core. (See the image below.) This is a good place to check first when probing for temperature spikes. If you have any suspicions, take out one third of the bin and feel the canola to make sure it’s cool. Heated canola produces a distinct odor, so smell can also be a good indicator of spoilage occurring.


  • Bag storage is a short term solution

    Early results from the first year of a University of Manitoba research study showed that canola at less than 10% moisture can be stored in bags for 10 months without damage, while canola at 14% moisture spoiled badly in that time. Until we have more results under a wider range of conditions, we encourage caution to make sure bagged canola is safe.


  • Fall weed control ahead of cereals, not canola

    The opportunity to spray weeds is nearly closed for this fall, especially on fields planned for canola in 2012. If you have a stretch of warm sunny days in the forecast, you might have a chance to give dandelions one last hit.


Canola Watch