Questions for the Month

What disease management planning can I do in February?

  • Verticillium stripe has been a hot topic on the farm show circuit in January and February. The disease has been confirmed in fields across the Prairies, including in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Take some time this winter to learn to identify this disease. Field scouting guide: Is it verticillium stripe or blackleg.
  • Blackleg surprised some farmers and agronomists in 2023. The new Canola Watch Fundamentals article, Six basics of blackleg management, has more information on blackleg testing and cultivar selection. 

How do delayed sales put stored canola at risk?

Bins are spoiling. Why? Because “time” is also a risk factor. Farms waiting for a price rebound may be storing canola longer than usual. Risk factors for safe long-term storage include green dockage that has more moisture than the seed. This can occur more frequently with straight combined canola. Warm outside air will also change moisture movement within bins. Please check bins.

What do the Clean Fuel Regulations mean for Canadian canola farmers?

The Canadian canola industry has a big opportunity to meet growing demand for canola-based biofuels as we look to implement the Clean Fuel Regulations (CFR). Register for an informative webinar that will explain details around the CFR, shed light on what these regulations mean and the opportunities they present to farmers. February 21 at noon CST.

How to plan for a drought?

While western Canadian farmers have never lost a canola crop in February, 2024 is shaping up as another dry year for many parts of the Prairies. Some considerations, if conditions don’t improve between now and seeding:

  • Identify herbicide carryover risk. Canola is sensitive to herbicide residues, especially Group 2 herbicides used on preceding pulse or cereal crops. Herbicide carryover injury tends to be higher where breakdown is slower, such as areas of low organic matter, low soil moisture, or high or low pH soils. Does this change where you’ll put canola in 2024? Podcast on herbicide carryover risk. Herbicide carryover fact sheet
  • Consider split application. The simplest approach is to fertilizer for the usual yield expectation. If yields are lower than usual at the end of the year, most of those nutrients will still be there for next year’s crop. An alternative is to fertilize for lower-moisture yield targets, then top up with an in-crop application if moisture improves? Broadcasting urea is one option. Spraying UAN is another. Urease inhibitors can limit losses while waiting for moisture to move that fertilizer into the root zone. How much fertilizer does canola need? Research on nitrogen use efficiency.
  • Move fertilizer out of the seed row. When seeding into dry soils, keep all fertilizer out of the seed row. Even a small amount of fertilizer can damage seed and seedlings in dry conditions. Is your seeding tool set up for that? This is a good time to consider alternative applications to protect the seed. Right rates for seed-placed fertilizer

What pathogen tests should I use?

The Canola Council of Canada encourages farmers to use soil testing for the presence of clubroot DNA, stubble tests for blackleg and verticillium stripe, and tests for the presence of sclerotinia stem rot spores. These tests have proven reliable. While these are the major canola pathogens, they are but a small sample of the organisms that interact with canola plants, for bad or good. We know of other tests to identify potentially beneficial or pathogenic organisms in the soil. In time, we may have more information about the true risk or benefit of these other organisms and a better handle on the value of these other tests. Bobbi Helgason and Tim Dumonceaux are two researchers looking into these organisms. Use the search function at to get updates on their research.