New Clubroot Areas – Scout Your CR Canola


Clubroot galls. Credit: Brittany Hennig

In Saskatchewan, visible clubroot symptoms have been found in two fields in the northwest part of the province in RMs where clubroot symptoms were not previously confirmed. This serves as a reminder to all canola growers to scout fields – both clubroot resistant (CR) and susceptible varieties – closely for visible clubroot symptoms and remain diligent in preventing and managing clubroot.

Random scouting of healthy looking plants is important because by the time galls are big enough to cause above-ground symptoms, clubroot has taken a firm hold in the field.

Variety choices for next year. With the goal to keep spores ‘low and local’, early deployment of clubroot-resistant (CR) canola is important when clubroot is confirmed in an area and certainly when any trace of clubroot spores are found on the farm.

The CR trait will prevent most infection, which will help to keep spore counts low in fields that already have lower counts. With fewer resting spores in the soil, the risk of building up virulent pathotypes is reduced.

Use the following checklist to decide whether a CR variety is right for your farm. If any one statement is “false”, a CR variety may be the best choice.

  1. I vigorously checked all of my fields (not just those in canola this year) to confirm that clubroot is not found on my farm. (True or False)
  2. I sent in soil samples from fields that will be in canola next year and they tested negative for the pathogen. (True or False)
  3. My neighbours have checked their fields and they don’t have clubroot. (True or False)
  4. I have not heard of any clubroot in my community. (True or False)
  5. No outside equipment/traffic has entered my fields since I last scouted them for clubroot. (True or False)

When spore counts are allowed to reach high levels: clubroot is more easily moved from field to field, clubroot will cause yield loss in susceptible canola (even with a four-year rotation) and clubroot will overcome CR traits.

Note that growing CR varieties alone is not enough to stop spore build up. Crop rotation and weed control are also required.

Crop rotation. Evidence from three rotation studies done in Canada (two at Normandin, Quebec, one in Alberta) suggests that two years between host crops is the minimum rotation to manage clubroot spores in a field.

Weed control. Volunteer canola, flixweed, shepherd’s purse, stinkweed and mustard will all host clubroot and leaving these weeds uncontrolled in rotation crop will greatly reduce the benefit of crop rotation to manage clubroot.

Source: Canola Watch

Top 10 Harvest Questions: ‘How Can I Harvest Sooner?’ And More

- Canola Field

1.How can I harvest sooner? Swathed canola can be ready to combine earlier than standing canola, but swathing early does not necessarily mean combining early. Canola swathed green takes a lot longer to cure than canola swathed at 60% seed colour change, and by cutting early, the crop may not meet its yield and quality potential. For canola left standing for straight combining, desiccants (diquat/Reglone) will not speed-up crop maturity, but they can speed up crop dry-down and make it possible to get into the field sooner. Not the important distinction: There is a big difference between maturity and dry-down. Desiccants like diquat shut down the plant and basically STOP it from maturing, which can lock in high green seed levels and end the finishing opportunity for latest seeds if applied prematurely. READ MORE

2. How early can I swath? The best time to swath for yield and quality is when 50-60% of seeds on the main stem are starting to turn colour. Seeds that are not ‘firm to roll’ may not mature at all. If swathing with only 30% SCC on the main stem, a lot of seeds in the side branches may be at the too-early stage. That means lost yield. See the swath timing section of the Canola Harvest Guide. READ MORE

3. When is canola ready to straight combine? To determine when a canola crop is ‘ready’ to be straight combined, stalk dry down, pod dry-down, and seed moisture all need to be considered. Which of those three is most important to you? What are you compromising by focusing on one and not the others? If you plan to combine when pod material is completely dried down, this should strike a balance between acceptable seed moisture (not too low) and a decent amount of plant material dry down for ease of harvest. Timing the operation based on seed moisture or pod dry down will get the combine into the field sooner. READ MORE. See the straight combining section of the Canola Harvest Guide

4. What do I do with uneven fields? Growers wonder how to approach harvest when canola fields have plants and patches at quite different stages of maturity. With any approach, the least mature areas of the field need to be left to mature. Swathing remains the best and least risky option to manage extreme variation in maturity. READ MORE

5. Should I spray uneven crops? Treating uneven crop is not an ideal situation for any of the pre-harvest products available for use on canola. Each has its downsides when it comes to uneven crop. Glyphosate applied too early can leave residues in the seed. Desiccants applied too early will stop maturity and lock in green, which will have the double whammy of reducing yield and quality – possibly in a major way. What is ‘too early’? … READ MORE

6. Should I swath or straight combine lodged canola? Swathing has no clear advantage over straight combining for lodged canola. It often comes down to personal preference, machinery on hand and patience levels of your operators. READ MORE

7. Should I swath or straight combine hailed canola? When hail hits canola in the pod stage, damaged seeds may be lost if the hail bruises are more than just ‘surface’ on the pod and the canola is still mushy / translucent. These seeds may not properly fill and swathing early won’t save them. If the hail has compromised pod integrity of mature seeds, swathing very soon after may save pods from shelling. If the hail hit when canola was still flowering, plants to put out new branches, creating a mix of mature pods ready to shell out and brand new pods just starting to fill. The key is to decide where most of the yield will come from and cut based on seed colour change for those branches — with a consideration for calendar date and frost risk. A pre-harvest herbicide could help with straight combining if the highest-yielding parts of the crop are ready to go. In that situation, the pre-harvest will dry down the green parts for easier harvest. If the highest yielding parts of the plant are the latest parts, spraying now will sacrifice all that yield. READ MORE

8. Are all pod-shatter traits equal? Not all pod-shatter tolerance traits are the same, and there is no uniform system for rating them. Talk to the seed company rep about what to expect, especially with an uneven crop with variable stages of maturity. You will want to know how long mature pods will stay together while waiting for the least mature areas of the field to catch up.

9. Why should I check for losses? Canola harvest losses can realistically be as high as five bu./ac., and are commonly around one to two bu./ac. This is anywhere from 10 to 50 times higher than average seeding rates. Not only does this reduce profit margin and yield, but it contributes significantly to the weed seedbank, creating volunteer issues for years to come. READ MORE for other common questions on how to check for losses, including how often to check and the ideal pan size.

10. How do I set the combine to reduce losses? This is a loaded question because there are so many variables. The Combine Optimization Tool will help you work through a lot of these settings. It goes hand in hand with drop pans and loss evaluation work. See the Canola Encyclopedia section. One tip: Once in a while, get out and measure the sieve and concave spacing to make sure it jives with the combine monitor and be sure that there are no issues. If the spacing is narrower than you think, the following can happen…

Source: Canola Watch

Canola Considerations


When canola starts coming off the field, producers will want to ensure that it is harvested and kept in good condition.

“A lot of canola may be swathed, due to second growth from hail, but all canola requires more heat before harvest begins,” says Harry Brook, crop specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre. “It is a good idea to review conditions needed prior to swathing or treatment prior to straight cutting.”

He says that canola should be swathed when the average seed moisture content is 30 to 35%, which corresponds to 60% of seeds having some colour change.

“Swathing decisions should be based on observations of seed colour change on the plant’s main stem if the crop is thick with few lateral branches. If the crop is a thin stand, with a lot of lateral branching and most of the pods are on the lateral, then use the colour change on the lateral branches to decide when to swath.”

“At the optimal time for swathing, seed in the middle third of the stem will have at least some colour change, the most mature seed in the bottom third of the stem will have complete colour change, and the seed in top pods will be green but firm and should not squish when rolled between fingers.”

“Assess where the majority of the yield is and use that to determine time of swathing. Keep in mind that pod colour change may be a poor indicator of maturity, so it is essential to check for seed colour change throughout the field to best estimate harvest staging.”

Under hot conditions, canola should be swathed early in the morning or later at night. The big danger in swathing canola under very warm conditions is the risk of locking in the green colour due to too rapid a dry down. Chlorophyll in the seed is one of the last things to be removed prior to seed maturity.

“It takes time for the crop to cure out and remove all green seed,” he adds. “If you swath too early or during the heat of the day, the curing process can occur too rapidly and the enzyme may not have enough time to remove all chlorophyll. The enzyme that clears the green colour out is most active at temperatures above 15 C. Seed moisture content must be at 20% or more. The warmer the temperature, the more active the enzyme will be and the quicker the colour will be cleared.”

Brook says that another cause of green seed is from an untimely frost, which could be a real risk for late seeded crops this year.

“When immature canola – either standing or freshly swathed – is hit with sustained cold temperatures below zero, ice crystals form in the plant cells and break the walls, letting the cell liquid leak out. Like a too-rapid dry down, this can lock in the green colour. The only way this can be removed is if the seed is rewetted and temperatures are warm enough to reactivate the enzyme. To prevent green seeds in canola, the crop should be swathed at least three days before the killing frost, allowing the crop to dry where it will not be affected by the cold.”

Harvesting the crop is not the end of the story, and Brook says that the temperature of the crop at harvest is very important, too.

“Safe storage of any crop is a combination of the temperature of the crop entering the bin and the moisture level of the crop. There have been producers who have binned their canola at 10% moisture, assuming it was dry, and a couple months later they find a bin of heated canola. Under hot or warm conditions, once the crop is in the bin there is a circulation of moisture from the sides, down to the bottom and then up through the middle. If there is any moisture accumulation or heating occurring in the bin in the fall, it will be near the top to the middle of the bin.”

If the crop is coming into the bin hot with temperatures above 25 C, he adds that it is essential to cool it as soon as possible.

“Using an aeration bin is the easiest way to do it. Those without aeration will have to move the grain to cool it. Do not confuse aeration with grain drying. Aeration requires fans to move 0.75 to 1.0 cu.ft. per minute per bushel. Cooling requires fans to move air at a fraction of that, 0.1 to 0.25 cu. ft. per minute per bushel.”

“Regardless of the method, with the big investment to get the crop seeded and harvested, it is only common sense to spend the necessary resources to ensure your valuable crop makes it to the market in good condition, as good as it was when it entered the bin,” concludes Brook.

“Using temperature sensors in the bin is another good way to monitor the canola condition. Even a metal rod shoved into the bin can be used for a sensor to indicate the condition of the crop.”

Source: Alberta Ag

Hail Damage To Pods


The later hail occurs in the season, the more damage it can do to yield. Canola can keep flowering to compensate from hail that occurs during flowering. And plants that were past flowering can start to regrow, going through flowering stages again. But these very late plants often cannot mature in time.

Harvest planning for late-season hail. Shattering risk increases for hailed pods (although pod-shatter tolerant canola can be more resilient.) Before jumping the gun and swathing too early, take these decision-making steps:

1. Assess where most of the crop yield will come from. If most of the yield will come from undamaged pods lower in the canopy, swathing after 50-60% seed colour change when those pods have reached full size will probably contribute more to yield than swathing early to save hail damaged pods. Note that hail tends to damage top pods more than lower pods, and top pods make a much lower contribution to yield.

2. After hail on podded canola, increase crop walks for the following week to check lower pods. Damage to these lower pods may not be evident immediately after a hail, but bruises can show up after a few days. Seeds either side of a pod bruise will likely dry up, and bruised pods are more likely to shatter prematurely. If lower pods — pods where the yield is — have high levels of damage, then earlier swathing may be warranted.

3. Be prepared to swath quickly if pod bruising is widespread. However, swathing before 20% seed colour change is counterproductive.

Treatments. Time and moisture are the best treatments for hailed crop. While we’d like a product to assist in hail recovery, to date it appears a well developed root system, moisture and time are all we can count on.

If applying any treatment on hail-damaged crops, keep in mind that there is very little research available on the efficacy of any product for this purpose. Leave appropriate check strips in order to make an accurate yield comparison at harvest. Note pre-harvest intervals if applying a fungicide.

Source: Canola Watch

Patch Management For Clubroot: You Can Do It! Here’s How


Severe clubroot pulled from infested soil (note wilting of plants in the background). (Photo courtesy S.E. Strelkov, U of A)

Canola plants yellowing pre-maturely could be infected with clubroot. If you find a patch of canola plants with clubroot galls, take action now to contain it. This is especially important (1) if clubroot is new to the farm or (2) if the field is seeded to a clubroot-resistant (CR) variety and the patch could have a new pathotype that you need to contain.

If the patch is small, dig up the infected roots and burn/destroy them. Then make sure to leave the patch untouched by tillage or any other operation that would move soil beyond the patch.

Why is patch management important? Spore loads will be very high in that patch and could reduce canola productivity in that area for years. Clubroot will often start in small patches and if a farm can identify those patches early and keep them contained, it can be an extremely important step in managing the disease. Discovery of a patch can also inspire a review of crop rotation to extend the break between canola crops to a minimum two years (three-year rotation), and encourage the farm to increase biosecurity practices to limit soil spread. In areas of Alberta that have been battling clubroot for more than 15 years now, more than a dozen fields have so much clubroot, including pathotypes that can overcome CR varieties, that canola is not a viable economic crop on that land. That is why identifying and containing clubroot patches is so important.

Once the patch is defined, a good next step would be to seed the patch to a perennial grass. This could be done now to see if the grass can get established before freeze up. If conditions are not suitable (too dry, too cold) for establishment, the next best patch-seeding time is likely early spring.


Step 1. Identify the patch dimensions by pulling plants in all directions until NO GALLS can be seen on the roots. At a minimum, extend the radius of the patch by about 50% from that point and seed the whole expanded area to grass. (The grass-patch area should be approximately double the area where clubroot galls were determined to be present.)

Step 2. Choose a grass species or blend. Although research is showing that certain grasses may be slightly better than others at coaxing spores out of dormancy and more quickly reducing spore loads (Fleet meadow brome and common smooth brome showed good results), the purpose of the grass is to establish a thick stand that holds soil in place.

Step 3. Seed the patch. Surface application (with a Valmar, for example) and a light harrowing is often enough for grass seed. Shallow seeding is optimal. Regardless of how the grass gets seeded and/or incorporated, make sure to not drag soil outside the patch. Clean off the equipment before leaving the infested patch so contaminated soil is not transferred outside this patch. For specifics on seeding rates and other valuable grass-establishment tips, refer to the ‘How to establish grasses’ section in this guide.

Step 4. Once the patch is established, spray as needed to keep out volunteer canola and other clubroot hosts. Known clubroot hosts include canola volunteers, brassica weeds (flixweed, stinkweed, shepherd’s purse, wild mustard), tame mustard, camelina and most other brassica crops and brassica vegetables. Leave the grass in place for at least three years before returning to annual crops. Five to seven years may be required if clubroot was so severe that plants in the patch were all dead in July.

Source: Canola Watch

Best Timing For Perennial Weeds: Pre-Harvest or Post-Harvest?


If you have a canola field with a lot of perennial weed escapes, especially Canada thistle, are you better to spray them pre-harvest or post-harvest for maximum efficacy? There are benefits to both options.

Jim Hunter, weed researcher (retired) with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Regina, found that Canada thistle plants moved glyphosate to the roots more effectively when in the rosette stage in the fall than earlier in the year when the plant was in the bud stage (which was the previous recommendation). Another study out of the northern U.S. found that about 90% of Canada thistle plants emerging from root cuttings remained as a rosette when day lengths were less than 15.25 to 15.5 hours. On the 49th parallel, sunlight hours drop below this level in late July. In the northern latitudes, like the Peace River region, it is into the second week of August. Pre-harvest or post-harvest would probably both hit this rosette stage.

Time needed for regrowth favours pre-harvest. Four to 6 weeks of regrowth are required before treating thistles with glyphosate in a post harvest scenario. This makes killing frost a factor. Will there be 6 weeks between harvest and frost? Northern latitudes and higher altitudes make for earlier frosts.

Early harvest favours post-harvest. Early maturing and early harvested crops like pulses grown in lower latitudes are more likely to accommodate a post-harvest application than later harvested crops in higher latitudes.

Thistle root dormancy favours pre-harvest. Canada thistle has to produce new storage roots each year as the plants head into winter, since the old ones were exhausted driving new top-growth earlier in the year. As roots are formed, the buds on them will go into dormancy after some time, as a way to preserve the energy in the root. Glyphosate moving through the plant will bypass dormant buds. One of the reasons for adding an auxin mimic (Group 4) herbicide to glyphosate to improve activity in perennial broadleaf weeds is because it snaps buds out of dormancy, allowing the glyphosate to enter them. IMPORTANT: Group-4 tank mixing is not allowed in anything pre-harvest and is not allowed post-harvest in fields planned for canola next year.

Tank mixing favours post-harvest. With the crops off, growers have more tank mix options. They can also add residual products later in the fall for in-crop weed control for the following season.

Rates favour pre-harvest. Post-harvest will require three times more glyphosate to perform the same job. Even with a lot of Canada thistle regrowth, the rosette will still only have a fraction of the leaf surface area that the full sized plant did prior to harvest. This means that the glyphosate application rate needs to be tripled compared to pre-harvest rates or about 1,100 g ae/ acre for post harvest to get the same amount of glyphosate into the root. Or add one of the post harvest tank mix partners to sharpen control for fall application. Either way it will cost more for the same level of control as a pre-harvest treatment.

–Thanks to Clark Brenzil, provincial specialist, weed control with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, for help with this article.

Source: Canola Watch

Government of Canada Invests Over $3.4 Million in Canola Research to Increase Yields


The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced an investment of up to $3,457,985 for SaskCanola to study genomic resistance, pathology and integrated crop management, which will help improve management practices and decrease incidences of emerging and established diseases.

The research project aims to further control Blackleg in canola and understand more about the emerging disease Verticillium Stripe in Canada. This is part of a multi-faceted approach to ensure increasingly stable trade in the future.

The project, funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriScience Program, builds upon a previous announcement up to $12.1 million under the same program for the Canola Council of Canada to advance the growth and profitability of the sector.

Quick Facts

  • Canola has been the largest crop in Canada in terms of farm cash receipts since 2010, and accounts for more than one-fifth of all cropland.
  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billioninvestment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector.
  • The AgriScience Program is a five-year, $338 million initiative which supports leading edge discovery, applied science and innovation driven by industry research priorities.

Leaders Wanted to Represent Alberta’s Canola Growers

- Canola Field

The Alberta Canola Producers Commission is seeking four canola growers to serve as directors on the board of directors for a 3-year term. This year, directors are needed in regions 1, 4, 7, and 10.

Alberta Canola divides Alberta into 12 regions, with each region electing a producer director to represent the canola growers within that region. Visit for a map and information on the regions.

The Board of Directors meets quarterly and is guided in decision making by five committees comprised of board members and staff.

The committees are:

  • Research
  • Governance and Finance
  • Grower Relations and Extension
  • Government and Industry Affairs
  • Public Engagement & Promotion

For full descriptions and committee roles please visit:

Can I become an Alberta Canola Director?

Do you grow canola in Alberta? Then yes!

Any producer who has paid a service charge on canola sold since August 1, 2017 can stand for election as a Director. An eligible producer can be an individual, corporation, partnership, or organization and must produce canola within the defined region in order to be nominated. A producer does not have to reside within the region.

What do I actually have to do as a Director?

  • Represent the canola farmers in your region on the Board, making informed decisions on issues based in research, finance, policy, extension, and market development.
  • Travel to 4 board meetings per year. You will also have the opportunity to attend a diversity of valuable meetings, courses, conferences, and events.

For complete details on becoming a director and to download nomination forms visit

Nominations for the position of Director must be filed in writing at the Alberta Canola office on or before 4:00 pm on October 31, 2019.

Source: Alberta Canola


Test Kochia Escapes For Glyphosate Resistance


Kochia stands above the canola canopy. You might want to check them for glyphosate resistance. Source: Ian Epp

Glyphosate-resistant kochia is found in all three Prairie provinces. Kochia produces 15,000 to 25,000 seeds per plant, and mature weeds, once they break from their stems and start to tumble with the wind, can spread these seeds over a fairly wide area. Farmers will want to test escapes for glyphosate resistance so the weeds can be targeted for intense management before they start to shed their seeds. A few hours of hand rouging may be required, but this can be time well spent to stop a small patches from spreading.

Kochia patches are hard to remove, even if kochia is not glyphosate resistant. The weed often takes over saline or otherwise marginal areas where crop barely grows anyway. Farmers may want to consider seeding kochia-infested areas to salt-tolerant perennial forage rather than continue to throw inputs at it. Soil-applied residual herbicides, used ahead of some (non canola) rotational crops, can be effective on kochia, including glyphosate-resistant kochia

Testing For Glyphosate Resistance

– Manitoba’s PSI Lab will test kochia for glyphosate resistance. It uses a DNA test to check for the GR trait, so it can test green plant material. Read the test protocols. For sampling tips, see this video from Manitoba Agriculture weed specialist Tammy Jones. Manitoba Canola Growers can get a free test.

– Charles Geddes, AAFC Lethbridge, is with the Prairie Herbicide Resistance Research Lab. The lab is also accepting samples from suspicious kochia patches for evaluation. They will test for glyphosate resistance and also dicamba/fluroxypyr resistance, which, Geddes says, “will be a very big issue especially for pulses and small grain cereals, leaving minimal herbicide options post-emergence.” Sampling protocols require leaving at least 20 plants until October and then harvesting at least 2,000 viable seeds. Email [email protected] for more information. Below is a PDF of the submission form and sampling protocols.



Source: Canola Watch

Canola Market – What To Do?

- Canola Field

Upcoming market considerations for canola producers following China’s import restrictions imposed in March.

“Canola producers are well aware of those import restrictions,” says Neil Blue, provincial crop market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

According to the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), to mid-July of the 2018-19 crop year, canola deliveries to the licensed Canadian handling system totaled 17.6 million tonnes, down about 780,000 tonnes from mid-July 2018. CGC recorded canola exports totaled 8.9 million tonnes near crop year-end, down one million tonnes from last July.

He says that export destination data are less current. “China, after a stronger start to importing Canadian canola in crop year 2018-19, had imported 560,000 tonnes less canola seed from Canada to the end of May than in the same 10-month period last crop year. Lower exports of Canadian canola seed to Mexico, Japan and the United States were also recorded.”

“A bright spot is domestic usage,” he adds. “CGC reports to July 14 that domestic use totaled 9.1 million tonnes compared to 8.9 million tonnes to mid-July 2018. A large amount of high green seed count canola was harvested last year. Much of that seed sold for feed or to small biodiesel plants, and most of that not recorded in CGC statistics.”

As for the canola inventory situation, Blue says that there is little doubt that canola seed carryover as of August 1, 2019 is record high.

“The 2019 Canadian canola acreage is lower at just under 21 million acres, according to the June Statistics Canada survey. Assuming average yields, lower exports and similar crush usage for crop year 2019-20, Canadian canola carryover is forecast similar to the 3.5 to 4 million tonnes estimated for July 31, 2019.”

He adds that although canola carryover will be record-high, crop storage will not likely be an issue for most farmers this fall.

“That is due to exports of wheat, durum, barley and lentils being significantly higher during 2018-19, more than offsetting the lower canola exports and lower overall domestic usage.”

With canola prices, Blue notes that the price of canola eroded in December 2018, following lower forecasted soy complex prices and continued increases to world inventories of soybeans and vegetable oil.

“In addition, the loss of hogs from African swine fever is reducing feed demand in Asia. However, some farmers did forward price new crop canola early on at higher prices via deferred delivery contracts or by using futures or options.”

“During June and July, there were bids of more than $10 per bushel for No. 1 canola – not as high as wished but still historically good. Off-grade No. 3 and sample canola is marketable, although discounted to a range of $5 to $9 per bushel, quality dependant. Canola basis levels have varied widely, with some buyers bidding 50 cents a bushel more than nearby competition. Some line elevator companies have offered basis ‘specials,’ resulting in prices near $10 per bushel.”

He adds that a rebound to higher canola prices is not in the near term forecast without resolution of the trade issue with China.

“However, the marketing message remains – know the grade of your product and shop widely for the best pricing opportunities.”

Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry