May 8, 2013 – Issue 6

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  • Issues of the week

    Seeding is progressing well in southern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan. Across the rest of the Prairies, warm temperatures accelerated the snow melt and many growers anticipate seeding a few days earlier than they expected at this time last week. “Toques to sunburns in 3 days,” was one comment on the rapid turnaround.

    Cleavers seedling. This is the size to spray. Source: Clark Brenzil

    The decision for growers is whether to seed first or spray first, given the clear yield benefits to doing both of them early. The balance probably tips to seeding first as long as field and weather conditions allow for an early in-crop herbicide application. However, it comes down to field scouting. Some fields should be sprayed first if winter annual and perennial weeds are growing fast and presenting a serious risk to yield potential. On windy days, the decision to seed or spray is often made for you.

    Seeding canola any time in May still provides good yield potential, so it may be premature to take measures to hasten maturity.


  • Canola Watch quiz

    Quiz 2

    What is this weed, and why is it special?


  • Spray AND seed at the same time

    Canola benefits from both early seeding and early weed control. The solution: Work through seeding and spraying operations simultaneously. Have the seeder working when it can. Meanwhile walk fields to get an indication of weed pressure. Fields with large numbers of winter annual and perennial weeds should get a pre-seed burnoff. While spraying that field and waiting 3 days to seed, other fields that don’t have serious weed issues can be seeded and then sprayed after emergence.


  • 10 important weeds in canola

    Cleavers seedling. This is the size to spray. Source: Clark Brenzil

    The top 10 weeds in canola are: Cleavers, volunteer canola, kochia, Canada thistle, sow thistle, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard, dandelion, wild buckwheat, stinkweed and stork’s bill. Email us using the contact info in the box to the right if you have another name to add to the list.


  • Weed questions for Clark Brenzil

    Hoary alyssum flower. Source: Clark Brenzil

    Read more for answers to these questions:

    —Should we really be concerned about glyphosate resistance? We’ve been managing weed resistance in other Groups and we have lots of tools now.
    —What weeds should I look out for that may not be on our radar?
    —What rate is too high or too low when trying to prevent resistance issues?
    —How long does it take a weed to recover from a stress such as frost or cool nights?
    —How does one differentiate between downy brome, Japanese brome and the other grasses?
    —How would a grower manage cleavers, glyphosate resistant kochia and foxtail barley in the same field?

    Do you have a weed question? Email us and we’ll try to answer it for next week. Use the hashtag #canolaweedchat to continue this conversation on Twitter.


  • Moving soil, moving clubroot

    The highest risk operation to introduce and spread clubroot is the one that moves the greatest amount of soil throughout the farm and across the countryside. Field equipment carries a lot of soil, which is why equipment sanitation is an important way to contain the disease. Others common ways to move soil include utilities companies working from field to field, any other people or vehicles in fields, and wind. No-till will reduce soil movement by wind.


  • Buyer beware with novel fertilizer products

    If a grower decides to try something new, find a uniform field, try one product at a time and leave an untreated check, ensuring both treated and untreated areas are accurately measured for final yield and grade so a true economic comparison can be made. In reality, some products may provide a good payoff for the price, but that payoff may only materialize one year in 4. A few years of trials may be required to get a true picture of the economics before making a final decision. Check out these strip trial tips for more insights on how to get the best possible information from your own on farm research.


  • Fan speed and seed damage

    Some air drills can cause costly levels of seed damage if the fan speed is too high. Cracked seed will not germinate. Inspect the quality of seed in the tank to make sure the loading auger isn’t causing the damage. Next, use the sock test (watch the video above) to check the state of seed as it exits the opener. Remove one or more hoses from their openers and tape a tube sock to the end to collect seed. This will show what damage, if any, may have occurred as seed traveled through the drill. This can be done in the yard ahead of seeding or, to avoid wasting seed on the ground, in the field. Count damaged seeds carefully.

    Even though the yellow split seeds will show up vividly in the sample, they may only represent a small percentage of seed. However if excessive damage has occurred, try a lower fan speed.


  • Farm safety tip

    Contact with an overhead power line can result in a serious or even fatal injury. Protect yourself, your family, and those who visit and work on your farm. Start by taking inventory of the power lines in your yard and along the roads to your fields. Make it a habit to look up before you begin any job and ensure safe clearances are maintained at all times. Be aware that new larger equipment recently purchased may not be able to go under lines you’ve always traveled under.


Canola Watch