The ground may freeze and the plants stop growing, but there’s no “off season” for good agronomy.
Just because the crop is in the bin, doesn’t mean we should stop thinking about how to improve production. The way to do that, says Leighton Blashko of BASF, is to think of the 5 Ws of planning the next year’s canola: who, what, why, where and how.
“If you’re growing a canola crop, you’re making those decision. You are the decision maker,” says Blashko. “Sometimes there’s other people involved. So sometimes you have an agronomist. Other times, you might have your retailer involved. Maybe there’s custom seed. So you’re going to be hiring those kinds of people. You should be starting to think about this for next year.”
“The what is you need to decide what kind of canola you’re going to grow. So first of all, you’re probably thinking about canola from a few different perspectives. Growers decide about a herbicide tolerance system, what they’ve been growing. They think about rotation — so they may want to rotate one system to another. They also think about disease,” he says. “You need to decide whether you’re considering a first generation hybrid, or whether it’s time for you to move to a second generation hybrid.”
As well, there are other factors you’ll want to consider like standability.
“Maybe it was a very large crop that you went through in some fields, maybe it was not a very high lodging year. But if you’re thinking about certain fields that are typically more prone to lodging, you want to think about what hybrid.”
“You’re doing things to make a profit, a good return on investment. There’s a lot of decisions that go into the why. Why should I put canola here? Is that the right rotation? Have I had enough years between canola crops?” Blashko asks.
“Field selection, and do we have the right conditions in that field? Is the moisture adequate? Is the surface residue or the straw cover uniformly spread?” he explains. “There’s a few different things for residue management that growers often look at. And this is the time of year to probably take advantage of a little bit of a lighter workload for that to be a consideration.”
The other consideration when it comes to the where, is of course, where did you have canola before, and what are the weed problems you might have. As Blashko explains, the where could also have a bit more of a granular look by asking questions such as: where did you place your canola seed this year, were you happy with the depth, etc.
“How, is putting this all together. It puts it into a nice package, and that should set you up for success.”
Check out the full conversation between Blashko and Realagriculture’s Kara Oosterhuis, below: