Be patient when evaluating frost damage on canola

For any grower, the decision when to seed canola is determined not only by moisture conditions and soil temps but also the potential for frost. This year, farmers in parts of western Canada have had to worry about frost later in the year (end of May), compared to the usual mid April and beginning of May mark.

Now, as the weather warms up across the prairies, some areas of southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba are only a few days away from the last frost.

Thursday on RealAg Radio, guest Errin Willenborg, of FCL Coops reported temperatures as low as minus four degrees celsius Wednesday night.

But don’t write off your canola acres just yet. Though the crop has a reputation for not being as resilient as wheat or barley, it can surprise us.

“I have seen where that cotyledon is frozen off and black and 3-4 days later that plant grew back and made it,” Willenborg says.

In terms of the weather turning to near thirty celsius highs within days of the last frost, Willenborg recommends flagging specific plants and watching closely for regrowth before making the decision to re-seed.

Two big questions when frost occurs

Agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada (CCC), Justine Cornelsen says two questions producers ask right away when there’s frost is:

  1. How do I know if the crop survived?
  2. When do I go back in to spray?

In the interview below, Cornelsen covers when to go, and what to look for in your plant counts, as well ass when a farmer can go back in and resume weed control.

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