2009 Canola Seasonal Summary

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Spring Planting
  3. Growing Season
  4. Harvest
  5. Canola Challenges and Opportunities for 2010

Technical information can be obtained at the OMAFRA Field Crops Webpage and Crop Pest Ontario. Referenced OMAFRA Publications include the Agronomy Guide for Field Crops (Publication 811), the Field Crop Protection Guide (Publication 812), Guide to Weed Control (Publication 75), and Ontario Weeds (Publication 505). These can be obtained from your OMAFRA Resource Centre, or by calling 1-800-668-9938.


Canola finished the year on a strong note with a provincial average yield of 0.88 tonnes/ac (1942 lbs/ac), just shy of the record average yield of over 0.91 t/ac (2000 lb/ac) set in 2008. Canola yields have been on a upward trend, with average yields in the past 4 years well above the 10 year average of 0.76 t/ac (1670 lb/ac). Individual yields ranged widely from 0.72 t/ac (1600 lb/ac) to over 1.76 t/ac(3900 lb/acre). Acreage of canola was similar to 2008, with an estimated 35,000 acres planted. The cool wet growing season was frustrating for completing field work, but timely rains, and cool weather were favourable for canola development. Seed quality was excellent, although high moistures at maturity delayed harvest and required added conditioning.

Spring Planting

Dry weather in mid April allowed some acres of canola to be planted, but wet weather delayed planting the majority of canola until after first week of May. Cooler and wetter than normal conditions resulted in about 10-20% of the crop being planted in late May to early June. Cool, wet soils combined with heavy spring rains resulted in consolidated soils, significant rill, and sheet erosion reducing populations over previous years. A number of stand counts conducted indicated plant populations of 4 - 14 plants/sq ft (average of 7). Flea beetle pressure was very low in most of the canola crop.

Growing Season

Most areas, except for Bruce County which was very dry, received timely rainfall through flowering and pod fill. Below average daytime and nightime temperatures (only one day above 30 0 C) were very positive for canola development but also resulted in sclerotinia infection in most fields. Swede midge affected several late-May to June planted fields. Rainfall amounts in August were 20- 60% above normal in many areas, and provided the right conditions for Alternaria (black spot) infection of pods and plant tissue.


Harvest of the majority of canola was delayed into September due to wet harvest weather, and the late maturity of the crop. Slow field dry down and green stems were a challenge for harvest. Delays in harvest and alternaria infection resulted in a significant amount of pod shatter prior to harvest. Seed quality was good and the crop yielded much better than anticipated.

Canola Challenges and Opportunities For 2010

Focus on Seeding

Plant population data collected the past two seasons indicate lower populations than those recommended by the Canola Council of Canada. Those recommendations call for established stands of 8-14 plants/sq ft. The council and Ontario Canola Growers are focusing education efforts on speed and depth of planting as key messages in improving uniform stand establishment. Quick, even emergence reduces problems with spotty stands, and the risks associated with heavy spring rains causing erosion and soil crusting. Uniform emergence also improves timing for fungicide application and results in more even crop maturity reducing shattering losses. The two most important days in canola production, are the day you plant and the day you harvest.

Insect and Disease Management

Swede midge is a potential pest of late-planted canola. Larvae of the Swede midge attack the growing point of plants and can cause serious stunting of plants and yield loss. The insect can be detected by insect traps, but there is no established threshold or management recommendation for control.

Widespread sclerotinia infection in canola, edible beans, and soybeans has 'seeded itself' producing soil inoculum that can survive in the soil for several years. Future crops will need to manage this risk. Timing of fungicide application tended to be on the later end of the application window in 2009 which may have contributed to less control.

Marketing & Storage Opportunities

End users have a limited ability to accept canola above 10% moisture or that requires further conditioning. A number of canola growers are broadening their marketing knowledge. Some growers were well rewarded through advanced sales last fall/winter.

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