Questions for the Month

What are the Top 5 takeaways from CanoLAB 2024?

CanoLAB for Agronomists was in Alberta and Saskatchewan last week and wraps up today in Manitoba. Here are five key takeaways from the disease-focused event:

  • 1. Manage blackleg. Blackleg management can start at seeding with the new blackleg-protective seed treatments. Know your seed treatment and its capabilities. Scout and cut stems to understand your current loss and future risk.
  • 2. Identify verticillium stripe. The list of important canola diseases expands to four with the addition of verticillium stripe. Learn to identify it. 
  • 3. Don’t forget about clubroot. The top four list still includes clubroot, even though blackleg and verticillium stripe have more buzz right now.
  • 4. Make a plan to assess sclerotinia stem rot risk. Fungicides are effective sclerotinia management tools, but timing is important. And economic return depends on a real risk of yield loss. Read the new Canola Digest article.
  • 5. Use CCC resources. You are already a Canola Watch subscriber but perhaps you know others who should subscribe. We also have the Canola Encyclopedia, Canola Research Hub and other tools. Find them here.

How can good openers help manage weeds and flea beetles?

Openers with sharp edges and limited wear work better to cut through residue, achieve consistent seed depth and provide the essential separation between seed and fertilizer. These benefits improve seed survival and crop uniformity, which improve the return on investment for seed. A canola crop with 5 to 8 plants per square foot emerging uniformly is more competitive against weeds and insects. 

Seeding tool pre-season inspection | Crop establishment and flea beetle management | Drill settings can help make canola crops more competitive against weeds.

How early is too early for pre-seed burnoff?

The first week of April may seem too early, and it probably is for most areas, but spraying well before seeding can be the right move in scenarios where weeds are growing – taking up moisture and nutrients – and could be quite large by seeding time. 

Two notes: 

  • Tank mixing is essential, especially with glyphosate-resistant kochia. Never use glyphosate (Group 9) alone. With glyphosate-resistant kochia as the target, effective options ahead of canola include Group-6 bromoxynil and Group-27 topramezone. Certitude is the only Group 27 registered for use ahead of canola. And while known cases of Group-14-resistant kochia exist, Group 14 carfentrazone should still be effective in most cases. These mixes are also effective against the range of weeds in the pre-seed window. How to contain herbicide-resistant kochia.
  • After a frost, wait for at least one night with a low of 5°C or warmer and one day of warm, sunny conditions. If heavy frost caused tissue damage to more than 40 per cent of weed leaf area, wait for new growth to show before spraying. If spraying was done more than 48 hours before a frost event, efficacy on living plants will be retained and the plant will continue to decline when it warms up again. Tips for better pre-seed burnoff results.

What is the best way to treat saline patches?

Soils with high levels of surface salts often produce poor crops, sometimes no crop. Kochia and other more saline-tolerant weeds move in. Simple steps to reduce losses are to stop applying nutrients to these areas (levels could be high due to chronically low performing crops) and stop seeding into areas where crop won’t grow. Then mow (don’t kill) those moisture-wicking weeds so they don’t set seed. More effective, but more costly, management steps are to plant the worst areas to saline-tolerant forages and/or use targeted tile drainage which, with adequate rainfall, will move salts lower in the soil profile. Salinity guide | Managing salinity with forages | Fix or set aside unprofitable acres