Canola Watch Exam 2020 – Section 7 – Abiotic (environmental) risks

This is the seventh of seven sections for this year’s Canola Watch annual CCA/CCSC exam. By dividing the exam into seven separate sections, we are giving CCAs and CCSCs the opportunity to customize the exam based on credits they need and to take some in 2020 and some in 2021.

Those who achieve 70 per cent or better on this section will qualify for 1 CEU (CCA or CCSC) in Crop Management.

Credits will be applied in either 2020 or 2021, depending on when you pass this section. For those who pass, Canola Watch will submit your name and number to the program to have the credits counted.

When writing this self-study exam, note that all answers can be found in Canola Watch articles as well as Canola Watch videos, podcasts and Canola Encyclopedia and Canola Digest links from 2020. You can find the Issue Archives as well as the video and podcast libraries under the “Canola Watch” tab at the top of canolawatch.org.

For questions or additional information on this exam, please contact Jay Whetter at 807-468-4006 or whetterj@canolacouncil.org.


Canada can be a harsh environment for everyone and everything, including canola crops. Crop management includes an understanding of risk from drought, frost, wind and more. CCAs and CCSCs completing this section will pick up tips from 2020 experiences that will help them reduce those abiotic risks or, at least, manage crop profitability in light of those risks.

REQUIRED - Your full name:

Your CCA number: (Leave blank if not applicable)

Your CCSC number: (Leave blank if not applicable.)

REQUIRED - Email address:

Phone number:

REQUIRED - What region best describes your work territory?
1. Canola fields may benefit from a top-dress application of nitrogen or sulphur (or both) if logistics and weather prevented the full recommended application of fertilizer at or before seeding, and if improved weather conditions (rainfall, for example) have increased the yield potential of the crop. What does a late May article say is the right time for an in-crop application of nitrogen?
2. Incessant wind made timely weed spraying a challenge for some farmers in 2020. A June 3 article says that spraying herbicides at night is an option – if that’s the only time when winds are calm enough to reduce the spray-drift risk. The article cites an Alberta study which found that, for pre-seed and in-crop herbicides used in the trial, spraying at night (Midnight - 1:00 a.m.) actually provided better results than spraying at what other time of day?
3. Wind caused Canola Watch to ask the reseeding question in an early June article. High winds can blow seeds and seedlings out of the ground, especially if topsoil is dry. Wind can blast the growing point off emerged seedlings, causing death. Wind can also blow topsoil off knolls, taking seed with it. The article links to a thorough analysis of the reseed question. When evaluating a stand, the article says ___________ is “crucial” if plant populations are low. Fill in the blank.
4. A mid-June article highlighted early-season hail events. It gave an example of fields around Calgary that were flattened, noting that even when a field looks to be completely lost, some seedlings will survive and re-grow from the growing point. A CCC agronomy specialist went back to a few of these fields 10 days after the devastating hail. What was the plant stand?
5. A July article called "What does a 5-inch rain do to soil nutrient availability?" includes the following from John Lee in North Dakota: “In the past two weeks a few areas here in eastern ND have had excessive rainfall (4 to 7 inches in one shot). A local agronomist wanted to know how far the spring-applied nitrogen had moved. He tested down to four feet and found _________________.” Fill in the blank.
6. A July 15 article on fungicide applications for sclerotinia stem rot described three moisture situations that can change the economics of a spray. One situation includes the following line: “If timing is late, you still haven’t sprayed and the canopy _________________, then maybe the late-window application isn’t worth it.” Fill in the blank.
7. In a Canola Watch podcast on the sclerotinia spray decision, AAFC research scientist Kelly Turkington talked about research showing that continuous rains during flowering can do what to disease risk? (Find all podcasts here.)
8. Over the past few years, Canola Watch has run an article about causes for missing pods. A July 2020 article expanded the number of reasons to 10. Weather factors that can cause missing pods include heavy rain or wind, drought and this factor – which was probably a major one in Manitoba and Saskatchewan in 2020.
9. This image is from our June 24 “colours of canola” quiz. What caused this discolouration?

10. Early frost is always a risk for canola crops in Western Canada. Frost can cause pods to pop open and put a permanent stop to the chlorophyll-cleaning process resulting in high green seed counts. What is the point when frost is no longer a risk for locking in green?