Canola School: Prioritizing early weed removal

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When it comes to canola crops, it’s important to keep the field clean from the start, in order to ensure your canola has the best possible chance at growing to its full potential.

In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Canola School, Kara Oosterhuis talks to Keith Gabert, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada, about early weed control in canola.

“It’s really important to have the least competition from weeds for your crop as you possibly can. Obviously, there is an economic consideration there — we’re not going to chase each and every weed, but early weed removal is critical for this crop,” explains Gabert. “More often than not, a weed that emerges that week before the crop, is probably going to have the impact of 100 weeds that would emerge a week after the crop.”

Gabert says that a majority of growers are on a two-pass system when it comes to spraying herbicides. “There are two pass-options that are available that result in a relatively weed-free stand of canola. That’s really what we’re hoping for, as we don’t want to produce a lot of weed seeds that’ll go back in the crop and give us trouble in the next number of years.”

At this time of the year, it is very important to scout, and be aware of what the problem weeds are that might cause issues in your canola crop.

“It’s particularly imperative to notice if there are any patches or areas in the field that aren’t controlled by the spray application you put in,” Gabert says. “We really want to stress to growers that with herbicide-resistant weeds becoming more of an issue, spotting those patches early and deciding if there are additional management techniques that you could use, would be really to your benefit.”

He explains that some of the methods that growers can use that don’t involve herbicides, involve looking back in time (much to the average farmers’ dismay).

“Growers aren’t going to like to hear this, but they can use things like hand removal, or mowing — things that take some effort. But if you find patches, it would be really nice if we could find a way not to drag them around the field with your combine. So particularly noxious weeds, that are likely only there around the edges, would benefit to a removal method.”

Gabert adds that typically the most common weed you are going to see in your canola field is whatever you grew the year before.

To learn more about what to look out for in your early emerging canola crop, and how to manage it, check out our Canola School, below:

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