Plan for next year — and not last year — when selecting hybrids

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We’re in the middle of peak seed selling season, as producers get crop plans in place for 2023. When selecting a variety, many producers wonder where to focus when looking at different options.

Derwyn Hammond, western Manitoba agronomist with Pioneer Seeds Canada, says this year in Manitoba, especially on the canola side, there was a lot of disease pressure — but different diseases than what we’ve typically seen in the past.

This disease pressure was brought on by late, wet, and hot seeding conditions — which favour diseases, such as blackleg and verticillium. How does this fit into selecting a disease package? It really shouldn’t have too big of an impact, cautions Hammond, as a year-over-year can face such different challenges. Plan for next year, and not for last year, he says. (Story continues below interview)

“Hopefully this year’s canola isn’t going back in the old canola acres. It’s going on cereal areas, or soybeans, or corn, and where those crops were last year. Having a look back and thinking back to the last time canola was on those acres, and what some of the major challenges were in terms of productivity on those acres,” he explains.

Hammond acknowledges that we don’t want to ignore some of the challenges faced in the previous year, it’s just a matter of looking more at historical averages.

“Mother Nature rarely gives us a repeat performance two years in a row. So it’s tough to predict what type of season we’re going to have, and which particular pests it will favour.”

Saying you’ll look at historical data is one thing, but actually having the records to be able to do so is another, which is where record keeping fits into the crop planning process.

“Things like disease incidents, how successful I was in terms of plant population, what those crops look like, and what some of those key disease levels were — that’s all information that over time can give you a better perspective on what your particular challenges are on the farm, and on specific fields within your farm, and help you kind of narrow that list of the hybrids available,” Hammond says.

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