I’m likely one of the few women who are positively giddy for November. Because November is Movember and I’m a huge fan of fantastic iterations of facial hair. The whole awareness campaign behind Movember is just icing on the cake (moustache?). I’ve encouraged the boy half of RealAgriculture.com to participate, but he hasn’t agreed. Could someone (all of you) apply some positive peer pressure? Thanks.
But on to this week’s column, This Week on RealAg, or #TWORA, if you will.
I managed to weasel my way into the Canola Discovery Forum, a two-day conference formatted far differently than any I’ve ever been to. Put on by the Canola Council of Canada, this wasn’t simply a conference to present the latest and greatest agronomy findings from the year —the day included a sizable question period where, and this was odd, the questions weren’t answered. Why? Because this event was meant to open up the discussion not just on what was being presented but on what WASN’T. Day 2 was then built around those questions, concerns, comments and more, and was the leaping off point to nail down research and development priorities moving forward. Very cool.
While I could write six stories on the one day alone, I’ll mention only two things here: stand establishment and resisting disease management (yes, that’s correct). First, the number of seeds going in the ground versus the number of established plants is still too wide a gap, and plant stand counts are still, generally, too low. There are several things responsible for this — from equipment set up, to incorrect settings, to disease pressure — but one in particular sparked my interest. Dan Orchard, agronomy specialist for the CCC in Alberta, handled the crop nutrition segment for the day, where he shared his concerns about seed-placed fertilizer rates. Orchard says that many farmers are pushing rates with seed (for some legitimate reasons) and may be sacrificing canola seedlings without realizing it, because burned seedlings simply don’t emerge. You can’t miss what you didn’t see, right? Click here to hear and read more on fertilizer rates with seed for canola.
And then there’s canola diseases. I want to talk about clubroot, as this week yet another area confirmed infection for the first time — this time close to the Manitoba border in North Dakota — but I’m going to save that one. Instead, let’s talk about blackleg. I’ve harped on this over and over, even annoying myself, but there’s a reason — while sclerotinia seems the more serious of the two diseases, in many ways, it’s not. Too many farmers consider using an R-rated canola variety their entire blackleg management strategy. This, my friends, is not enough, nor is it an actual management plan. A plan includes far more action items than just one. The biggest offender is non-existent rotations — blackleg needs canola stubble to live on. Wait until the stubble breaks down and you significantly reduce the blackleg risk, and that takes three years or more. For those of you still plopping in a year of a cereal crop and expecting it to have ANY impact on blackleg or sclerotinia threats are seriously over-estimating the impact of that wheat crop. In my mind, it will be blackleg, not sclerotinia, that is the spanking farmers will receive for short “rotations.” Rant over. For now.
Deep breath, Lyndsey.
On to the more fun part of the site this week, we had a blast collecting all the amazing Halloween/jack-o-lantern photos posted to Twitter or sent along via email. See the gallery of those here. And, just launched yesterday, is our second annual vote-for-your-favourite weed ID & control video put on by University of Guelph’s Crops 4240 students. Part of their grade is determined by our votes, so make sure you take a look and vote for your favourite!
Yours in farm-loving,