September 26, 2012 – Issue 30

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  • Issues of the week

    Many canola growers harvested lower than expected yields in 2012. So what happened? Why did the canopy look good enough to yield much higher than it did? In many fields, it was quite likely a combination of factors, led by a very hot July. This week’s Canola Watch looks back on the year, and highlights these key contributing factors, providing tips on what can be done in 2013 to reduce these factors should they appear

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  • Photo quiz of the week

    What caused this damage?

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  • Factor: Hot and dry at flowering

    July was very hot, which is bad news for a cool season crop like canola. When daytime highs reach 28-29 C or higher, pollen viability and length of flowering drop off, and seed and pod abortion increase. July was also very dry for some regions. When heat and lack of rainfall are combined, the plant goes into survival mode. It wants to develop just enough seed to survive, then it stops flowering to conserve moisture.

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  • Factor: Excess rain

    Regular rains throughout central and west-central Saskatchewan in particular increased disease in canola. Fungicide to protect canola from sclerotinia stem rot was a worthwhile investment.

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  • Factor: Disease

    Sclerotinia is no longer a regional issue. It doesn’t matter where you farm, your canola can get a costly sclerotinia infection if conditions are moist before, during and after flowering. Budget to spray in 2013. Clubroot continues to spread. Did you have blackleg this year?

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  • Factor: Insects

    We don’t exactly know why insects were more plentiful this year, but a mild winter and more canola than ever are likely factors. Achieving a plant stand in the range of 7 to 14 plants per square foot provides a buffer for some plant loss to insects. Scouting and spraying when populations exceed economic thresholds will increase the return on investment.

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  • Factor: Crop nutrition

    If nutrient reserves were not utilized because of environmental extremes, where are these reserves? How big are they? Soil tests will help determine this carryover. Because some may be concentrated at lower depths, growers may consider submitting 0-6” and 6-24” samples. If crops (including non-canola crops that will precede canola in 2013) had heavy biomass but low yield, nutrient in the biomass will remain in the field but might not cycle back into available forms in time for next year’s crop.

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  • Factor: Plant stand

    Canola needed 10 plants per square foot to deal with everything that came along in 2012 and still come through with a decent yield. A stubble count this fall will determine how many plants made it through to harvest.

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Canola Watch