Volunteer canola is a high-risk crop

With high emergence rates of volunteer canola, some growers with many acres still to seed may be tempted to leave these volunteer “crops” to maturity. Volunteer canola is not a hybrid anymore, so yield potential of each individual seed is lower and not all plants will have herbicide tolerance. And with distribution concentrated in the windrows, the stand is not uniform. That means crowding in some areas and patchy emergence in others, both of which will reduce yield potential. This also means highly variable crop staging, creating a challenge for pest control and harvest. Also, a volunteer crop has no flea beetle protection and no applied fertilizer. And finally, growers who plan to harvest a volunteer crop will need to alert the seed company. Most seed will have legal restrictions on reuse, even if the seed comes from the volunteer seed bank.

Murray Hartman, oilseed specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, says the better option is to control the volunteer canola and seed a proper crop using the advice in the previous article.