The time of year where many are starting to plan for their 2021 growing season has begun, and at the end of the day, the markets will play into those decisions. While we need to be able to make a profit off of the crops we put so much effort into, we also can’t deny the importance of following strong agronomic principles.

Joining Kara Oosterhuis for this Canola School episode is Jason Voogt, of Field 2 Field Agronomy, on why it’s so important to stick to your crop rotation, even if the markets are enticing.

“With the way our markets have been there’s a lot more excitement with canola,” says Voogt. In his area, not a lot of people have made any drastic changes or big switches in their crop planning, but the draw to seed more canola acres is there.

When it comes to rotation, there’s a number of things a person has to look at. Weed control is one of them, and as Voogt says, herbicide resistant weeds are a bigger concern. “When you put more pressure with canola on the rotation, what you’re doing is basically selecting for certain weeds,” says Voogt. “Most growers are typically growing all cool-season crops, or maybe a mix of cool-season and warm-season crops, and both of those have very different herbicide application timings.”

If your herbicide timing is always the same by growing a lot of one crop — like canola — you’re giving those weeds a chance to become well established.

Check out the full conversation below, story continues below video:

Disease management is also a concern when it comes to rotation. In Manitoba, verticillium stripe is something producers have been keeping an eye on, which could easily spread to the rest of the prairies.

“We’ve always been concerned with blackleg and tight rotations, and what it does for blackleg, but also sclerotinia,” says Voogt. In other areas, clubroot is the concern. Those diseases will get more established if the rotations remain tight and not given a chance to break the disease, the resistance to these diseases could also break down.

Potassium and phosphorus fertility are key for canola, as the crop can pull one pound per bushel. It has to be replaced and matched in those requirements, which can affect other crops down the road, says Voogt. Canola also isn’t a good host for beneficial mycorrhizal fungi, which other crops do need the benefit of in a soil, so the frequency it’s included in your rotation should be considered.

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