Top 10 agronomy topics for 2015

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The Canola Council of Canada agronomy team came up with 12 agronomy priorities for 2015, and then ranked them. Here are the top 10, with our highest ranked topic placed first. We will cover these topics in more detail throughout 2015.

1. How to identify fertility shortcomings. What to look for? When to check, and how often? A couple years of higher yields and high rainfall amounts have led to reduced overall nutrient levels and increased nutrient variability in many fields. Identifying nutrient shortcoming and how they reduce yield often requires more than just a soil test, although a soil test is a good first step. How to diagnose deficiency.

2. How to assess data quality. Not all data is created equal, and it is important to separate good data from bad and to fairly interpret trial results.

3. Choosing the right seeding rate. The key is to use a seeding rate that will achieve 7 to 10 plants per square foot based on seed size and field conditions. Read why. It may be worthwhile to use a higher rate for earlier seeded canola or higher risk fields, and lower rates for later seeded or low risk fields.

4. How to check for yield losses on combines. Growers need specific tips on how to do a proper job, including removal of chopper and drop pan techniques, how long it will take and the potential return on that time spent. It can be higher than you think.

5. Economic thresholds for insect management. This will include refinement, where necessary, of scouting techniques. For example, sweep net results for lygus can vary based on time of day, wind and temperature. Read more on current thresholds.

6. Variety rotation. Using different canola varieties within your overall crop rotation can improve weed control and reduce disease risk. One specific question facing growers is whether to take clubroot resistance ahead of yield potential.

7. Sclerotinia stem rot and the real cost and risk analysis of spraying versus not spraying. Sclerotinia management tips.

8. Beneficial insects. What insects provide the most value, and what can be done to protect them while also protecting the crop? Here are a few key beneficials.

9. Take time to get familiar with straight combining canola. What are the circumstance where it makes sense? How can growers lower the risk? Here’s a primer.

10. Residue management. What are the best ways to make sure crop residue is spread evenly and thinly in preparation for next year’s canola crop? How much do these steps cost, and what is the potential return from residue management?

The two agronomy priorities in that fell off the top 10 list were (1) preventing and identifying herbicide resistant weeds and (2) sprayer tank clean out and crop damage that can result from unexpected herbicide residues.

To tell us how you would rank these and make comments on this list, click here.