Fertilizer and rotation planning

Fertilizer planning: Growers with soil tests, particularly for poor performing fields in 2015, have valuable background information for making informed fertilizer rate decisions for 2016. In fields that produced poor crops, the amount of fertilizer left over is harder to predict. With crops that met or exceeded expectations, soil nitrogen reserves are often low and fertilizer rates can be set with that assumption in mind.

With lower than expected yield in some fields, soil test results will indicate whether growers can reduce fertilizer rates to take advantage of higher reserves. In that case, growers may find it economical to adjust the blend from field to field.

Rotation planning: This is a good time to go over notes for disease levels in 2015. Fields where disease levels were noticeably higher than in the past will benefit from a longer rotation away from canola. Crop rotation tends to be the best way to manage disease, particularly blackleg and clubroot.

Growers will sometimes notice they get higher yields on crops planted in fields that produced poor yields the year before. This may be because nutrient reserves are higher or deep soil moisture reserves are higher. However, this will not necessarily mean the fields are scot-free for disease if clubroot and blackleg levels were higher the last time canola was produced on that field.