Questions of the Month

How to check canola bins?

Some of the final canola fields harvested came off tough. Some of the first fields harvested came off hot. Both are risk factors for safe storage. Be cautious about waiting too long to cool or dry stored canola.

The best method to check bins, even with bin monitoring cables, is to remove about a third of the canola. This disrupts the moisture cycle and helps to stop any heating or spoilage that may have begun in the central core. While unloading, feel and smell canola as it comes out of the bin. Check for visual abnormalities such as sweating. Run another moisture and temperature test. If canola has any hint of spoilage, consider cycling the whole bin.

You have soil test results. Now what?

Use results to make a fertilizer plan for each field. Even if logistics make it a challenge to create a blend for each field, soil tests can indicate the appropriate blend rate for each field. Dig deeper and discuss results with an agronomist to develop a 4R nutrient management plan.

Don’t forget sulphur. Canola has a large appetite for sulphur and recent research points to a connection between heat tolerance and adequate sulphur. Sulphur can be highly variable in a field, so sampling in a high sulphur area may not reflect the need across the field. That is why soil tests often recommend a baseline amount of sulphur for canola. Try the new Prairie Nutrient Removal Calculator.

Keep soil test results as part of field records that include planting, spraying and combine yield information. While running numbers on soil test results, take time to upload all field records for the year. 

How can seed decisions improve profits?

Canola seed with traits and seed treatments that combat the yield robbers specific to your field or region can improve canola profitability.

While going over 2023 records, note issues with glyphosate-resistant kochia and any other troublesome weeds. Review blackleg tests to see what R-genes are appropriate for fields with increasing blackleg levels. Consider how seed treatments for flea beetles, cutworm and blackleg could help. These factors all go into choosing the right canola cultivar for each field.

What were the top yield robbers for 2023?

Share your top yield robbers through our short survey. In late October, plant disease and insect pest specialists met in Kelowna, B.C. for the Western Forum on Pest Management. Here are a few canola highlights:


  • Alberta: Grasshoppers were one of the more serious pests in 2023, especially in the south. Green worms found feeding on canola were alfalfa loopers, not bertha armyworm.
  • Saskatchewan: Grasshoppers exhibited localized heavy pressure. Aster leafhoppers (vector of aster yellows) were more numerous and had much higher infectivity. Growers sprayed for diamondback moth larvae sporadically in July and August. Other notables include crickets in some locations, localized but significant clover cutworm feeding, and flea beetles in the northeast (striped) and south-southwest (crucifer). 
  • Manitoba: Flea beetles remained the insect of greatest concern. Other notables were grasshoppers, diamondback moth, lygus and cutworms. Some fields were sprayed for a combination of these insects. Range expansions were detected for cabbage seedpod weevil.


  • Alberta: Blackleg was again the most prevalent disease, reported in 92 per cent of canola fields surveyed with 26 per cent of plants infected (incidence). Sclerotinia stem rot was in 22 per cent of fields surveyed with average incidence of 3.3 per cent. Clubroot was in six per cent of fields with average incidence of 0.6 per cent. Verticillium stripe was suspected in three per cent of fields.
  • Saskatchewan: Blackleg basal symptoms were present in 72 per cent of canola fields surveyed with average incidence of 12 per cent. Aster yellows was present in 33 per cent of fields surveyed with average incidence of five per cent. Surveyors found suspected symptoms of verticillium stripe in 27 fields and samples went to the lab for confirmation (results pending).
  • Manitoba: Surveyors and test labs confirmed clubroot galls in four fields. Blackleg was in 78 per cent of canola fields surveyed with average incidence of 12 per cent. Aster yellows was in 21 per cent of fields surveyed with incidence of four per cent. They found verticillium stripe in 29 per cent of fields with an average incidence of 11 per cent.

(Reports from the Western Forum on Pest Management will be posted as they are finalized) (Found clubroot. What’s next?) (How to interpret blackleg tests?)