September 10, 2014 – Issue 23

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  • Four the week

    Photo credit: Garth Donald

    Man, snow?! Snow doesn’t do as much damage to standing canola as the frost that comes with it. If frost is light, moisture from the snow might actually provide canola with some protection. (Photo credit: Garth Donald)

    Frost risk. Swathing before 60% seed colour change will reduce yield, but heavy frost will reduce yield, too. If growers have a lot of fields to swath and if heavy frost is forecast, growers may opt to swath the earliest fields ahead of the frost — even if they’re not at 60% seed colour change — as a way to balance risk.

    Harvest losses. You’ve taken care of your canola all season long. Set the combine carefully so profit goes in the bin, not on the ground.

    While you wait… Cool weather and slow colour change can make for agonizing waits. While champing at the bit, do a disease check, count plants and prep the combine.


  • Map of the Week

    MintempmapSep9 justmap
    MintempmapSep9 legend
    CHU of normal

    Here are two WeatherFarm maps. Click the map for a link to the original on the WeatherFarm site.

    The frost map is for yesterday morning. Many areas that had frost yesterday had frost again this morning. The second map, also from WeatherFarm, shows corn heat units (CHUs) for 2014 as a percent of normal. We don’t talk CHUs in canola, but this map demonstrates the variability in heat accumulation across the Prairies this year.


  • September 10 Quiz

    Disease scouting video screen shot

    How are your post-swath disease scouting skills. The video above will help you answer the quiz questions this week. You can watch the video afterward if you want to test your knowledge now!

    CCAs take note. You can get 1 CEU for watching the full “Pre- and post-swath canola disease scouting” video and answering 10 questions. Here’s the CCA quiz and full video link.

    You can get another CEU for watching the “Blackleg disease and resistance management” video and answering 10 questions. Here’s the blackleg CCA quiz and video link.


  • Frost in forecast: Swath now or leave it standing?

    Pods turning translucent is a sign of heavy frost damage.

    With light frost in the forecast, crop left standing will still have a chance to mature further and yield more. A heavy frost will lock in high green counts and likely increase yield loss with pod splitting and pod drop. Swathing before the heavy frost event may prevent this green lock, but the crop needs to dry down to a seed moisture level of 20% or less.


  • It’s September 23. Do I cut that green canola?

    swathing canola

    As we progress further into September, growers get more anxious to swath. Swathing at 60% seed colour change is still preferred, but by this date some growers don’t want to wait any longer. Here are some scenarios that may help with the decision to go or wait….


  • Snow on standing canola. What to do?

    Snow in central Alberta, September 9. Credit: Rick Taillieu

    The key harvest management issue with snow on standing canola concerns not so much the precipitation (although heavy snow can cause lodging) but the frost that comes with it.

    The common scenarios growers face with the snow on standing canola are:

    1. Canola is immature when snow falls.

    2. Canola is ready to swath when snow falls.
    3. Canola left standing for straight combining is hit with snow.

    Here is a description of each scenario, along with some tips to help with decision making….


  • Seed still green but mature

    This time of year, mature canola seeds can take a long time to turn brown or black. Growers wondering why seed colour change is taking so long may want to check the fields again and look for these other signs of maturity….


  • Too late to swath

    Crops left standing for straight combining could face high losses if growers change their mind and choose to swath after the crop has reached 80% seed colour change. If a field that ripe must be swathed, cut in very moist conditions (rain or heavy dew) to limit shattering as much as possible. The final decision on whether to swath or straight cut really needs to be made prior to the optimal swathing stage of 60% SCC.


  • Clubroot pathogen shift: Management

    In 2013, an Alberta field was identified where a clubroot resistant variety showed a high incidence of clubroot infection. Subsequent testing by the University of Alberta indicated that all current forms of resistance were not functional on the disease in this soil. This failure of resistance or its breakdown was determined to be due the increasing shift to a previously unidentified pathotype called 5x. Current clubroot resistance is still functional to the predominant pathotype 3 and the less dominant pathotypes 6, 5 and 8. But this 5x is able to overcome all forms of resistance on the market today.


  • Jobs to do while waiting for harvest weather

    Disease assessment.
    Seed colour change assessment.
    Count plants.
    Prep the combine.


  • Top 10 tips to reduce combine losses

    combine canola Lexion cropped

    Growers can lose up to 5 bu./ac. of canola during harvest, with many of those losses occurring as canola enters and exits the combine. Combine losses should be less than 1 bu./ac., and hopefully more like half a bushel.

    Here are the top 10 tips to keep combine losses to a minimum….


  • Residue management starts at the combine

    Spread cereal residue evenly and chop it well to improve seed placement next spring.

    An important factor in canola stand establishment next spring is the crop residue situation this fall. An even mat of cereal residue is preferable to clumpy distribution that can affect drill performance, seed survival and overall crop uniformity next year. Fall is the best time to make sure residue is spread evenly. A properly adjusted combine straw chopper and spreader is key, and may eliminate the need for harrowing or stubble burning.


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