Ontario Field Crop Report - Canola and Dry Edible Bean Seasonal Summary 2005

Table of Contents

  1. Spring Canola
  2. Winter Canola
  3. Dry Beans

Spring Canola

History will remember 2005 as a very disappointing canola year for both yield and quality. Early season dry warm weather allowed a good portion of spring canola crop to be planted in mid April. Conditions abruptly changed on April 21st, when rain and significant snow covered much of the province, halting further planting progress for 3 weeks. Temperatures remained below average into May, resulting in slow emergence and growth from the early planted crop. Foliar flea beetle control was required for much of the early planted crop due to its slow development and high flea beetle pressure. May planted canola emerged more rapidly, often within a week, with excellent populations although some unevenness due to dry soil conditions was reported, with emergence sometimes taking up to 1 month. Hot and dry weather in June persisted through till August with over 24 days during June - July recording temperatures of 30°C or above. In general, the canola canopy volume was reduced due to a lack of rain (in some areas up to 7 weeks) with canola plants often not filling the rows. Early planted canola was impacted the greatest, with some fields in full flower never reaching above knee-high. The flowering period was shortened considerably (up to 1 week), with flower abortion and plant wilting evident during midday.

Cabbage seedpod weevil was less of a problem in early canola than in previous years. The hot dry conditions favoured high populations of tarnished/lygus plant bugs. Some spraying occurred to control these pests during flowering. Weather related low disease pressure in most fields, meant very little spraying occurred for sclerotinia (white) mold.

Yields varied greatly ranging from 0.5 t/ac – 1.2 t/ac, and typically averaged .66 -.75 t/ac of long term farm averages.

Early shipments of spring canola to ADM Windsor identified that there was a major quality problem with the crop due to brown seed content. ADM suspended receiving canola for a short period, backing up movement of canola through the elevator system. Quality was very disappointing with much of the crop not meeting Grades 1 or 2 as required by ADM from most of the growing regions. Quality analysis from samples analyzed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the poor quality of the oil, making it very difficult to process for human consumption. Higher brown seed levels are the result of canola subjected to severe moisture and heat stress during the filling period. When crushed, brown seed contains higher free fatty acids which increase rancidity and reduces oil quality. To achieve grade 2 and avoid down grading the sample must have less then 5 brown seeds per 1000. On August 30th, ADM announced a revision to their discount schedule, which indicated only grades 1 and 2 canola would be accepted.

Ontario has had a good reputation for producing No. 1 and 2 canola for the past 24 years. Today's varieties have excellent tolerance to "brown seed", but not complete resistance. For 2006 ADM is positive about the future of Ontario canola and baring a similarly poor climatic season to 2005, the expectation is for Ontario returning to a high grade crop.

Winter Canola

Survival of winter canola ranged from poor in the southwest to good in more traditional growing areas. Much of the stand reduction experienced is thought to have been caused by the February thaw when temperatures soared to above 20°C. This left fields with little snow cover and often water-logged. This period was followed by a rapid drop in temperatures (up to 40°C) resulting in freeze damage to the crown and roots.

Cool temperatures through most of May favoured development of a thick canopy and resulted in early pollination. High temperatures and dry conditions occurred from late flowering through to pod fill which resulted in plant wilting, flower abortion and an advancement in maturity.

Populations of cabbage seedpod weevil were lower than previous years. Sclerotinia pressure was generally low in most stands. Yields of winter canola generally ranged from .75 - 1.25 t/ac, and graded mostly Grades 1 and 2.

Dry conditions through August and September allowed timely planting of winter canola this fall, but resulted in emergence being delayed and uneven. Acreage is estimated to be similar to previous years (4 – 5,000 ac).

Challenges for 2006

Market Opportunities

Canola is a valuable rotational crop in northern growing areas. Quality challenges with brown seed in this year's crop last occurred in 1988. Quality analysis of varieties in Ontario Performance Trials, may provide information on varietal differences in brown seed count potential. Other market opportunities need to be explored.

Winter Canola

Yield of winter canola was lower than previous years, although quality was acceptable. More on farm field trials and research is required to develop a 'winning' winter canola production recipe.

Sulphur Fertility

Sulphur deficiency was more evident in 2005 winter and spring canola. Was this a one year weather induced phenomena? Additional field trials are required to determine the issues around sulphur requirements (amount, timing, application placement) for both spring and winter canola. Substituting a portion of the urea nitrogen with ammonium sulphate could be a low cost option for including sulphur in the fertility program.

Dry Beans

During 2005 soil conditions were dry but generally much cooler than normal at planting time, with soil temperatures of 10-15°C common. By the end of the second week of June, about .75 of intended acreage of many bean types had been planted. Dry soil conditions resulted in uneven emergence in many areas.

Leafhopper populations were very low for most of the season, a result of few storm fronts coming in from the U.S. High populations of tarnished plant bugs in many areas and spider mite to a lesser extent resulted in some spraying for control.

Bean canopies were below average through most of July. Rainfall in late July early August was spotty, but resulted in a flush of new growth and pod development. Heavy rains in western Ontario left soils saturated and lead to areas of fields developing a 'gray cast'. Diagnosis of plants from affected fields confirmed fusarium root rot as the cause. Fusarium root rot is the most common root rot to affect dry beans in Ontario. The disease often spreads quickly when soils become saturated following a long dry period. Some fields developed heavy infections of bacterial blight. Anthracnose infection was very low in white beans, with only isolated plants in a few fields.

Cooler temperatures and improved soil moisture in August allowed for good pod set and development. Yields in most areas were average to above, with good seed size and quality. Low seed moisture at harvest was an issue, resulting in some harvest delays. Earlier Tarnished plant bug infestation caused some increase in pick.

Challenges for 2006

IPM Strategies for Leafhoppers and Tarnished Plant Bug

Regulatory approval of a new seed applied insecticide (thiamethoxin) for control of soil insects and early season leafhoppers offers a new tool for managing an old nemesis. Tarnished plant bugs can cause flower abortion and damaged seed, leading to increased pick.

Agronomics for Niche Market Classes

Expansion in acreage of niche market types requires support for agronomic research and extension of information.

White Mould/Soybean Rust/Anthracnose

These diseases were not major issues this year, but are all potentially devastating. Fungicide application was a major focus of a dry bean fungicide day held at Huron Research Station this summer.

Crop Rotation

A good crop rotation is the corner stone of edible bean production that reduces the risk of white mold, root rot and soybean cyst nematode. It is the most economical way to improve yields of dry beans. Increases in acreage of soybeans and edible beans in Ontario will require close attention to rotation schedules to minimize production risks. Attention should also be given to herbicide rotation intervals as they may impact dry bean production.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca