Quick Hitters:

Sclerotinia stem rot continues to spread through many canola crops. Alternaria has also infected the pods of many hailed crops. Keep watching these crops. When infected areas make up 50% or more of the crop, swathing early may be the best way to salvage the yield in those infected plants. Otherwise diseased plants will shell out if left standing until healthy plants are ready. If healthy plants are showing some colour change or if the seeds are at least firm, they should mature in the swath. Click here for more details.

Spread residue evenly in fields planned for canola in 2011. Step 1 in good canola stand establishment, especially in direct seeding situations, is to have straw and chaff from the previous crop spread evenly across the field. Check that combine chopper knives are sharp and that the chaff spreader is doing its job. If the combine can’t spread cereal chaff and straw evenly across the width of cut, then consider dropping the straw and baling it. Another option is to use a heavy harrow to spread the straw. However, heavy harrowing should be delayed until the straw is dry enough to allow even distribution and minimize piling up and bunching of the straw. Click here for the library of residue management articles from the Reduced Tillage Linkages website.

Big weeds? At this stage, with swathing so close, there is limited time for glyphosate to do its job. Swathing is the best control method. Remember that swaths with a lot of big green weeds will take longer to dry down for efficient combining. Consider a post harvest spray if perennials or winter annuals start regrowing. Use nonresidual herbicides for fields that will be seeded to canola next year.

Condition bins with tough canola. A lot of canola could be going into the bin tough this year as growers take advantage of those rare days with good combining weather. While aeration can help keep grain cool and delay spoilage initially, aeration alone will not remove much moisture if temperatures are cool and humidity is high. In some cases heated air drying will be required if canola is going to be stored for longer periods of time. Growers who don’t have access to a dryer should have a plan in place to deliver canola before high moisture levels cause it to heat. Click here for more tips on conditioning and drying tough canola.

Need swathing tips for lodged crop? Click here to hear CCC senior agronomy specialist John Mayko in the latest installment on ACPC radio. And click here to read the article from last week’s Canola Watch.