Canola School: Extra time spent at seeding pays dividends all season long

When it comes to stress on a canola crop, there are two ‘buckets’ that it can fall into: abiotic stress and biotic stress.

Biotic stressors can include things such as harmful insects — flea beetles, for example — and abiotic stressors have to do with factors dealing with the environment, such as frost. This time of the year, it’s not uncommon to run into some colder temperatures, especially overnight.

The million-dollar question is, how can we mitigate these stresses — both biotic and abiotic — and how on earth do we tell them apart?

Russell Trischuk, technical service manager with BASF, says although it may seem straight forward, it’s a matter of scouting as much as possible. This means not just driving past your field daily, but putting boots to the ground, and digging up roots as plants emerge.

“Just go take a look at your crop. If you see that your seedlings are coming up, and they are purpling or showing some of those different signs of abiotic stress, although there’s not a lot you can do, you need to watch out for it,” Trischuk explains in this Canola School episode. “When it comes to biotic stresses, with canola, in particular, everyone thinks of our six-legged friend the flea beetle, but also diseases this time of the year are something that you have to look out for.”

Seeding can be a tricky time, especially in a year when there are still combines rolling in May. It’s rushed, and we all just want to get that crop into the ground as quickly as we can. In order to avoid some of these stresses, Trischuk says that slowing down, and really thinking about how and when you are going to put that seed into the ground, will do you more benefit than you may realize.

“In canola in particular, especially since it is a small-seeded crop, just make sure to really look and say ‘is today really the right day that you should be putting it into the ground’,” he explains. “What does the weather forecast look like? What’s your moisture situation? Obviously you are gambling a little bit, or hedging your bets a little bit when you chose to put it in, but it is still just May, so we still have a good month. Put it in when you have adequate moisture. That is a really big thing. When you have issues at seeding, they are there all year long.”

As farmers we know we can’t control the weather, so it’s important to control the things we can, such as seeding depth, fertilizer placement, and spray timing.

Check out the full conversation between Russell Trischuk and RealAgriculture’s Kara Oosterhuis, below:

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