Warm weather, sunny days and bare fields have growers itching to get #plant15 underway. While waiting, take time to get the seeding tool in top shape, prep the sprayer, and put the finishing touches on the rotation plan.
The photo above shows a “sock test” on a drill opener. Have you ever wondered what canola seed looks like after it’s gone through your metering system, hoses, manifolds and openers? A sock test is a good way to find out.
Want to get involved in a research project? Here are three studies looking for grower partners:
Weeds may start re-growing and emerging sooner this year if the weather stays warm. The more weeds up and growing ahead of the crop, the bigger the return from a pre-seed burnoff.
Read more for maps showing the average date of the last spring frost in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Very early seeding increases the frost risk and may not provide a yield advantage over your regular early seeding date.
Early seeding usually improves canola yield potential and quality, but these benefits depend on survival of a sufficient plant population — ideally 7 to 10 plants per square foot, and a minimum 4 to 5. An early-seeded crop that is thin and uneven because of a damaging frost will not meet yield and quality expectations. Typically, the maximum yield benefit comes when canola is seeded in late April to mid May. The exact window depends on the region and the season. Before making the decision to seed earlier than usual, consider:
The following pre-seeding tasks will help growers make the most efficient use of seeding time and get canola off to a good start.
How to get the drill ready for spring: Level side to side and front to back, check each opener for wear, check shank trips, inspect all moving parts, inspect electronics, and do a sock test to make sure the air delivery system is not cracking seed.
Scientific research in Western Canada has identified three factors that increase the risk of canola yield loss in short rotations. They are blackleg (shown above), clubroot and cabbage root maggot.
A verticillium wilt committee, with representatives from the Canola Council of Canada, the CFIA, AAFC, provincial canola grower organizations, provincial government specialists and life-science organizations, will examine the disease risk in Western Canada and come up recommendations for management. Step one is to survey more fields this summer and autumn.
…The best management option left is the four-year rotation. Discovery of different clubroot pathotypes in central Alberta will change the rotation plans for some growers. No current varieties have strong resistance to these pathotypes.
If growers have used resistant canola two or three times already on fields that were infested with clubroot, these fields are at high risk for having one or more of the different pathotypes. Any fields that have had moderate to heavy clubroot infestation are at high risk for pathogen shift to overcome resistance. Longer rotation is necessary to slow the pathogen shift that is occurring in these fields.
April 13-15 — Canadian Global Crops Symposium, Saskatoon, SK
April 15 — Clubroot Information Seminar, Bonnyville, AB
June 23 — CanolaPalooza, AAFC Research Cenre, Lacombe, AB
July 5-9 — International Rapeseed Congress 2015, Saskatoon, SK
Summer job posting — Manitoba Canola Growers Association. for more information.