1. Paperwork. Go through notes you took through the 2013 growing season and get them organized for next year. Look for patterns in 2013 yield maps. For example, can good areas and poor areas be explained and provide some specific management direction for 2014?
2. Consider how to work check strips into your farm for 2014. These are a good way to check the efficacy and economic return for fungicides, second herbicide applications and other treatments.
3. Check your bins. Just because your canola looked fine when you binned it in September or October, doesn’t mean it still does.
4. Read the new Science Special edition of Canola Digest.
5. Attend conferences and meetings, such as the provincial canola grower group AGMs, CanoLAB and the CCC Convention (in San Antonio).
6. Get involved. Volunteer for local grower groups, research organizations or provincial canola associations. Or get involved in ag advocacy. For example, increase your knowledge about risks and benefits of crop protection products and new product technology and be able to support your industry’s use of these products.
7. Cook. Check out some of the new recipes using canola oil at canolainfo.org.
8. If buying used equipment, note where it came from. If it’s from an area known or suspected to have clubroot, figure out how to clean the equipment before bringing it home or taking it to the field. (Perhaps ask for a pressure washer for Christmas.)
9. Look at fall soil samples and get your fertility plan in place.
10. Book a vacation — maybe to someplace warm. You’ve earned it after bringing in a record crop.