Gambling with nitrogen and the weather

July 17, 2017

Canola crops across the prairies are in many different stages — some are coming out of bloom, and some are still in the window where dribble banding nitrogen could work.

When it comes to making nitrogen available to your canola crops, weather plays an imperative role. After all, wet conditions are the reason many acres did not receive their normal fall nitrogen application, leaving growers looking at options for meeting the crop’s nitrogen requirements this spring and summer.

In this Canola School episode, we talk to Warren Ward, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada, about options for N in canola, when it’s considered too late to top dress, and how weather plays a role in making the fertilizer available to your plants.

“In terms of making the fertilizer available, rain is important. It’s also important in terms of losses of nitrogen. We know we can see losses through volatilization or denitrification. Those are all tied to rainfall,” explains Ward.

Related: Canola School: Spring Options For N If You Missed Anhydrous In Fall

Ultimately, it’s important that nitrogen is in the soil and available to the plant by the five to six leaf stage when canola’s N uptake ramps up.

He also takes us through a number of ‘what not to do’ scenarios when it comes to nitrogen for canola.

“I guess the takeaway from today is that there’s no one size fits all answer,” says Ward at CanolaPalooza in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. “Everyone is working with different equipment on different soils and from different moisture conditions so being prepared for the unexpected and just willing to work with what you have. If something is not quite right – look at how you can compensate for that – and maybe down the road make a paper adjustment for that.”

Canola School videos are produced by Real Agriculture.

You can watch all the canola school videos on this website and on Real Agriculture's Canola School page

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