Questions of the Week

How to manage canola post-frost?

A crop’s resilience to frost varies based on plant tissue moisture, hours below zero, temperatures leading up to frost and other factors. Risk of damage is typically minimal at 0°C to -2°C. Be patient after a heavier frost: it can take four to ten days to accurately determine damage. If the cotyledon leaves die and no new growth emerges from the growing point, if the stem pinches off or if the plant flops over, the plant is probably dead. If the cotyledons die but the hypocotyl is green post-frost, the plant will likely survive. Mark several plants and assess the crop the day after frost and again three to four days later: how many plants survived? Are the survivors uniform? If even one to two plants per square foot survive, yield potential will likely be higher from supporting the remaining plants rather than reseeding: a uniform two plants per square foot still brings a 90% possibility of achieving expected canola yield. (How to work through the reseeding decision) (Plant establishment – frost) (Spring frost – when to resume weed control)

Did rain get in the way of weed control?

Rain (and in some regions wind) is delaying weed spraying. Meanwhile, weeds are thriving. Early season is the most critical and economically beneficial period for weed control. Where possible, spray weeds ahead of seeding. If a pre-seed burndown was missed or if weeds hadn’t fully flushed at pre-burn timing, go with a pre-emergence or early in-crop pass. To manage weed competition effectively while protecting seedlings from herbicide damage, watch rates, aim for good application conditions and tank mix always. More rain in the forecast? Rainfastness varies by product: check product labels. (Weed management timing) (Spraying tips for tough conditions) (Weed control strategies for each HT system)

How to optimize seeding into good moisture?

Producers from Manitoba through British Columbia are generally reporting decent moisture in most seed beds. When moisture is available, seeding shallow can speed emergence. Ensuring good seed-to-soil contact and checking the accuracy of seed placement is even more important when seeds are placed at ½”. If rain delays seeding, use the time to give the seeder an extra close look. If early-seeded canola is already emerging, assess rows for seeding uniformity. Ask: given the strong start to the season, is there opportunity to adjust yield targets upwards? If so, what seeding and nutrition decisions should be re-assessed to achieve that new target? Agronomists: are yield targets top-of-mind during discussions with producers?
(Prep the seeder for consistent seed depth) (Principles of good seed placement)

Why give your sprayer a spa day?

Various chemicals can settle out of a sprayer tank solution and/or stick as residue to the insides of the machine. If spraying is delayed and a product sits in the tank overnight, or if a product dries inside the sprayer prior to tank flushing, residue risk increases. Multiple herbicides (especially Liberty) and other products can scrub the tank clean, allowing residue to inadvertently mix into a spray solution. This unintended mixing can result in crop injury, reduced application efficacy, nozzle plugging and more. To avoid these risks, it’s critical to follow the clean-out procedures recommended for whatever products used. One especially critical time for good cleaning (or even an aggressive surfactant) is between pre-season and in-crop. Leaving a cleaning solution in your tank for a few hours or overnight should provide assurance that spray tank residue won’t cause damage later – consider it a “SPA DAY” for your sprayer. Here’s a quick review of how to give your sprayer the spa attention it needs. (Cleaning the sprayer tank – tips) (Off-target herbicide damage – carryover or sprayer contamination)