2010 Canola Summary
Table of Contents
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 phenomenal note with a projected average yield of 0.95 tonnes/ac (2100 lbs/ac), ahead of the previous record set in 2008 of 0.90 t/ac (2000 lb/ac). Canola yields have been on a upward trend, with average yields in the past 5 years well above the 10 year average of 0.79 t/ac (1740 lb/ac). Individual yields ranged widely from 0.64 t/ac (1400 lb/ac) to over 1.81 t/ac (4000 lb/acre). Acreage of canola increased this year to over 55,000 acres, due to attractive profit potential, and growers desire to plant more winter wheat early following the late soybean harvest in 2009. Timely rains and cool temperatures with a long flowering period were ideal for canola development. Late plantings suffered from excess rainfall following emergence, and hot dry conditions during flowering, which reduced yields. Harvest for the most part started early with few issues. Harvest seed quality was excellent, although seed moistures were often low (below 9%).
The spring of 2010 was almost ideal for canola planting. A very early dry spring allowed for the earliest start to the planting season, with some seeding the first week of April. Planting moved ahead rapidly with 80% of the crop planted early or on time. Late April - May rains delayed planting of remaining acreage into late May.
Emergence was slow on early plantings due to cool soil temperatures. Emergence and growth were rapid on the majority of crop. The early planting season allowed most of the crop to develop and flower under optimum cool daytime and nightime temperatures. This combined with good soil moisture allowed for an extended and stress free flowering and pod fill period, which contributed to the high yields many experienced. Optimum temperatures for canola growth and development are daytime/nightime temperatures of 250 C/ 150 C. Flea beetle pressure was low except in Northern Ontario where warm, dry conditions produced a flush of flea beetles 'overnight', thinning stands and resulting in some replanting. Ample soil moisture and cool, wet conditions were favourable for sclerotinia but surprisingly infection rates were lower than anticipated. First generation swede midge populations peaked a week earlier than normal in mid-May which threatened late plantings in areas with this pest.
One of the earliest planting seasons on record resulted in an early harvest of the majority of canola crop. Wet weather in northern areas delayed harvest, but did not impact yields or quality. Seed quality was excellent.
Canola Challenges and Opportunities For 2011
Focus on Seeding
Most growers took advantage of the early planting season, and plant populations were often improved over previous seasons. Stand establishment is the biggest risk in canola production. Quick, even emergence reduces problems with spotty stands, weed competition, and results in more uniform flowering improving timing for fungicide application, and 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.
Sulphur deficiency was evident in a number of fields that did not include sulphur in the fertility program. Trials conducted this year indicated an economic response to sulphur, and many growers now regularly include sulphur in canola fertility programs as 'insurance'. The amount of sulphur received through acid rain, is nearly one-half historical levels due to decreases in sulphur emissions from industry. The benefit of boron in foliar applications was not as evident this year.
Insect and Disease Management
Swede midge is a threat to 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. This risk will need to be managed in future crops. Timing of fungicide application tended to be late, challenged by wet weather, uneven flowering and demands on custom spraying.
Marketing & Storage Opportunities
End users have a limited/no ability to accept canola that is above 10% seed moisture content or that requires further conditioning. More canola growers are taking advantage of storage and marketing opportunities to improve returns.
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