Low expectations for volunteer canola crop

There are two key points when treating volunteer canola as a crop: 1) Check with the seed company on the legalities of harvesting a volunteer crop. 2) Set expectations accordingly.

This crop has no seed treatment, no fertilizer (unless you top up) and if from hybrid seed, only 80-90% of plants will have the herbicide tolerance gene. This will not be a top crop, but Murray Hartman, oilseed specialist for Alberta Agriculture, says plant stands with a minimum of 0.5 to 1 plant per square foot, on average outside the chaff row, could be “medium yielding” under the right conditions.

Tiffany Martinka, CCC agronomy specialist, says some volunteer canola stands in her region of southeast Saskatchewan are “surprisingly uniform.”

A company-approved volunteer canola crop may mature early, offering an opportunity to set up for seeding winter wheat. Another option may be to use the volunteer canola to pull some moisture from the soil and then turn it under as green manure mulch.