Concerns about canola-on-canola acres rising

As farmers finalize and consider their crop decisions for 2018 with a lot more detail, there are some developing conversations that are creating a bit of a stir among farmers, agronomists and industry.

The debate over soybean acres is exciting, but the real concern is canola acres. Canola acres were a record 22.8 million acres in 2017, which seemed unimaginable 10 years ago. Can we actually go higher in 2018? Some people think so.

As people dream of the future of soybeans, consistent demand for pulses from India, or a recovery of the wheat markets, the future of canola rotations has some people very weary. Canola again looks to be the crop with the highest probability of profit for Western Canadian farmers. And that’s why some people think the record high canola acre mark set in 2017 could be broken in 2018.

Where are these extra acres going to come from? The math is actually quite simple. Just grow canola on canola.

In fact, we have been hearing increasingly from people in our audience that some agronomists are trying to downplay the negatives of canola on the same land in back to back years.

Don’t Miss: The Impact of Tight Canola Rotations

With incredibly adaptive diseases like blackleg and clubroot gaining acres and overcoming genetic resistance, we seem to be getting close to the crossroads of whether farmers will look long term for the sake of their land or just keep focused on bankrolling this year’s land payment.

The joke about Alberta Peace country rotations of snow-canola-snow-canola are no longer a laughing matter. That joke has brought clubroot to the the Peace Region in 2017.

As RealAg agronomist Peter Johnson said on RealAg Radio on Monday, the data is very clear that canola in the second year of back-to-back is a 15 percent yield drop. Canola genetics continue to improve, but they cannot replace a longer rotation. A good rotation equals long term sustainability of your land. Asking you to stick to a ten year rotation is not reasonable and likely never going to happen, but is a three year rotation too much to ask for?

What are your thoughts? Are you going to throw caution to the wind and plant canola on canola because canola pays the bills or stick to a rotation that minimizes the chances of a wreck and blackleg or clubroot issues?

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. He creates content regularly and hosts RealAg Radio on Rural Radio 147 every weekday at 4PM est. @shaunhaney

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One Comment

George

Club root was found in a few counties this past year that scares me when I heard its in our county I decided to extend my canola rotation to 4 years , we normally had a 3 year

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