Agronomy

Maximizing canola yield from pre-seed to harvest

maximizing canola yield banner

Forget “planting a seed and watching it grow.” Today’s farmers know that producing a high-yielding canola crop requires a season-long commitment. A whole-acre approach, where you invest in the best seed technology and then protect your investment with the industry’s most advanced crop protection solutions.

Corteva Agriscience™ is committed to helping Canadian farmers overcome challenges at each step of the growing season, providing you with the right tools and advice at the right time.   

Covering you from pre-seed to harvest, here are some agronomic tips, management practices and solutions to help you boost your profits and achieve new levels of success in canola.      

Step 1: Select the Right Canola Hybrid

Start by selecting a canola hybrid that has been bred and tested in your local area so you have the knowledge and confidence it will perform on your farm. Both Pioneer Protector® brand canola and Brevant™ seeds canola hybrids bring high yields and consistent agronomic performance in all herbicide tolerant systems.

Choose from high-yielding canola hybrids with built-in disease protection against yield-robbing diseases such as:

  • Clubroot (including new sources of resistance)
  • Sclerotinia
  • Blackleg

Plus, the HarvestMax trait is a maximum yield management trait that provides you the opportunity to choose how and when to harvest your canola crop to maximize your yield opportunity and operational efficiency.

Step 2: Protect your Seed Investment

Next step is to choose your canola seed treatment to maximize insect control and early season vigour.  Lumiderm™ insecticide seed treatment delivers enhanced flea beetle protection on both crucifer and striped flea beetles, as well as early season above- and below-ground control of cutworms. Along with the reduced risk from flea beetle and cutworm damage, Lumiderm delivers substantial increases in plant vigour and biomass for larger and stronger plants, and increased uniformity.  

Prepare your seed bed and control weeds prior to seeding. Don’t use glyphosate alone. Mix it with another mode of action herbicide for a pre-seed application on early emerging weeds to minimize weed pressure on the developing canola plants.  

Prospect™ pre-seed herbicide will give your canola the best start possible. Tank mixed with glyphosate, Prospect provides consistent control across a wide range of weed stages, including over-wintered weeds such as cleavers (Group 2 and 9 resistant biotypes). It is designed to safeguard your canola from the ground up, providing more complete control than you’d get using glyphosate alone. It is also a critical tool in delaying development of glyphosate resistant broadleaf weeds, providing multi-effective-mode-of-action control of many broadleaf species.

Step 3: Maximize Canola Emergence

After selecting your high-yielding canola hybrid and protecting it with a seed treatment and a pre-seed herbicide, the next step is to maximize your canola’s emergence. Remember, this is a very small seed going into a harsh environment and the quicker the plant can germinate and emerge, the better your canola stand will be. Here are some critical factors to consider:

  • Soil Temperature – the ideal temperature for maximum emergence is 10°C.
  • Seeding Rate – seeding rate varies with Thousand Kernel Weight (TSW), however, if the TSW is 5.0, the ideal seeding rate is 5 lbs/acre. Please consult your local agronomist to determine the best target seeding rate basis for the specific TSW of the seed you purchased.
  • Seed Depth – target ½ inch to 1 inch below the press wheel furrow. Be sure to check your depth in each field you are in, as each field can have different soil conditions.
  • Slow Down – there is no “correct” seeding speed, but your goal should be to consistently plant the seed at the ideal seeding depth. Slowing down allows for the openers to establish a seed shelf as well as maintain fertilizer and seed separation.
  • Fertility with the seed – Phosphorous (P) is critical for early seedling growth. Place a small amount of starter P with the seed (5-7 lb./ac actual) to encourage early seedling growth and place the remaining in the fertilizer row. Minimize nitrogen and avoid potassium in the seed row as too much salt can cause toxicity and inhibit germination.
  • Scout early and often for insects such as flea beetles and cutworms.

Good Emergence

  • Consistent 6-8 plants/sq ft throughout the field
  • Majority of the canola is at the same stage
  • Roots are white, healthy and growing
  • Ability to grow through insect pressure and disease is high (a shorter time from seeding to emergence helps keep seed treatment viable and defending the seedling)
  • Good soil moisture and seed to soil contact
  • No to very little seed on top of the soil surface

 

 

 

 

 

Poor emergence

  • 0-4 plants/sq ft have emerged from the ground
  • Inconsistent stand and stage
  • Easily spot seed on soil surface
  • Digging through seed row and find seeds that have germinated but fizzled out - brown or black on root shoots
  • Can be caused by: variable moisture conditions in the seed row, shallow seeding, deep seeding, cold soil and temperatures causing canola to be slow out of the ground, disease and insect pressure, herbicide carryover, fertilizer burn, frost, soil compaction, equipment issues
  • Reseeding the field, or a portion of it, may be considered if conditions persist. Consult your Pioneer Rep or agronomist to help with this decision 

 

 

 

 

Average emergence

  • 4-5 plants/sq ft
  • Uneven or patchy emergence through the field
  • Canola emerging at different stages
  • Keeping the stand is often more profitable than reseeding at this stand count as canola compensates extremely well through branching, but consult your Pioneer Rep or agronomist to help with this decision

Step 4: Choose the Right Solution for Your Weed Control System

Having a sound weed management plan is critical to protecting your hybrid’s yield potential and locking in long-term profitability. Here are some recommended herbicides for whichever canola system you are growing:

Canola Weed Control System

Recommended Herbicides

Clearfield® canola

  • Clearfield canola offers producers differentiated marketing and resistance management opportunities. 
  • Providing an alternative mode of action than other canola programs, the Clearfield canola production system offers increased crop rotation and herbicide options for maximum rotational flexibility.
  • The one-pass and flushing weed control system utilizes Group 2 chemistry to control a wide range of weeds, including volunteer canola in tight canola rotations and Group 1 resistant wild oats.
  • The different mode of action also makes it a good choice as a follow up crop after using Group 1 herbicides in other crops.

Ares™ SN herbicide

  • The performance standard for weed control in Clearfield canola, Ares SN delivers reliable control of key broadleaf and grass weeds, including flushing weeds, in one pass.
  • Key weeds controlled include wild oats, volunteer cereals, wild buckwheat, volunteer non-Clearfield canola, chickweed, cleavers, lamb’s quarters and redroot pigweed.

Amity™ WDG herbicide

  • Offers a wide range of control with greater rotational freedom and is the recommended herbicide for Clearfield canola in the Peace River Region of Alberta and British Columbia.

Lontrel™ XC is a great tank-mix for both Ares SN and Amity WDG to increase control of wild buckwheat and Canada thistle for total weed control.

Optimum GLY Canola*

A new herbicide–tolerant trait technology designed to deliver top yield potential and agronomic trait performance through:

  • Enhanced, broad-spectrum annual and perennial weed control
  • Improved crop safety
  • A wide window of application for increased flexibility with herbicide application timing

*Subject to export regulatory approval.

Eclipse™ XC herbicide

  • Provides broad-spectrum weed control in glyphosate tolerant canola, for superior control of wild buckwheat and Canada thistle.
  • Provides better overall control and crop safety compared to 1 rel/acre of glyphosate alone in glyphosate tolerant canola.

Roundup Ready® Canola

Roundup Ready® canola gives you unsurpassed versatility and outstanding yield potential. It can even help tackle tough weeds – like cleavers and wild buckwheat.

Eclipse™ XC herbicide

  • Provides broad-spectrum weed control in glyphosate tolerant canola, for superior control of wild buckwheat and Canada thistle.
  • Provides better overall control and crop safety compared to 1 rel/acre of glyphosate alone in glyphosate tolerant canola.

LibertyLink® Canola

The LibertyLink® trait provides yield and performance with an alternative mode of action for weed resistance management.

Interline® herbicide

  • A new option for glufosinate-tolerant canola for broad spectrum weed control
  • Its unique, high-quality formulation of glufosinate delivers outstanding crop safety, excellent flowability and minimal foaming.

Step 5: Be Proactive Against Disease

Sclerotinia stem rot is widespread in canola across much of Western Canada. The risk of developing this disease increases when conditions are cool and moist and if your plant canopy is dense.

Since sclerotinia can cause a significant yield reduction in canola, it is vital that farmers take a proactive approach to managing the disease. We recommend making a preventative fungicide application at 20 to 50 per cent flower prior to disease development, because once you see symptoms in your field, the damage is irreversible.

Acapela™ is a Group 11 fungicide that controls sclerotinia, allowing Group rotations and the ability to save Group 3 fungicides for fusarium treatments on cereals. Acapela’s four movement properties ensure great coverage and the confidence to spray at ten gallons per acre to get proven sclerotinia control that contributes greatly to maximizing yield. These agronomic attributes, combined with excellent savings from the Corteva Flex+ Rewards Program, make Acapela the right choice to protect your canola from sclerotinia.

To achieve the highest level of protection against sclerotinia, grow sclerotinia-resistant canola and spray a preventative in-crop application of Acapela fungicide.

Step 6: Choose Your Harvest Timing

When it comes to maximizing your canola yields, you’re making a season-long commitment with minimal exceptions - especially during harvest. Proper harvest management is key to realizing the yield you’ve worked hard to protect but, when balancing heavy workloads with weather and field conditions, it isn’t always easy or straightforward.

It’s important to assess your canola crop not at planting but as it nears harvest (prior to 60% seed colour change) to decide on the best harvest method to maximize yield. This is based on stand establishment, insect damage, weed control, uniformity and knitting of stand, crop canopy, maturity disease, frost and other environmental risks.

Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to normal swath, delayed swathing or straight cut when growing a HarvestMax canola hybrid:

Swathing may be an option if:

  • Crop canopy is upright and not well knit together
  • Uneven crop staging from uneven emergence, disease, weedy patches or early season frost
  • Risk of early fall frost
  • Thin, short or lodged plant stand
  • The optimum stage to swath for both yield and quality is 60% seed colour change

Delayed swath may be an option if:

  • You grew a HarvestMax hybrid to reduce risk of shatter 
  • You need more time to help spread out workload (waiting until 80% seed colour change could help, for instance)
  • Adverse weather conditions are in the forecast at 60% seed colour change when one would normally swath
  • The crop is well knitted with minimal disease or insect damage
  • Risk of early fall frost is low

Straight cutting may be an option if:

  • You seeded a HarvestMax hybrid with reduced risk of shatter
  • Plants are well-knitted with a slight lean to protect against severe wind events
  • Even, uniform crop maturation
  • Limited disease, hail or insect damage to plants or pods
  • There is need to balance weather, crop conditions and maturity with your farm’s time efficiency (manpower and machinery)
  • Seed moisture is <10% with minimal green seed (ideally >2%)

The one thing that’s certain is the more options you have as a grower, the easier it is to optimize your harvest - and maximize your yields. One of the biggest factors in determining your crop’s suitability for swathing, delayed swathing or straight cutting is your canola hybrid.

The HarvestMax trait, in both Pioneer Protector® and Brevant canola hybrids, offer the flexibility to choose how you manage your canola crop from a harvest and operation efficiency standpoint.  You can swath, delay swath or straight cut to maximize yield depending on weather and field conditions, and machine and manpower availability.

Reducing the risk associated with shatter losses, HarvestMax canola hybrids deliver high-yields and consistent performance, along with excellent standability, harvestability and strong lodging resistance. The hybrid packages also include stacked agronomic traits such as clubroot (with various sources of resistance), sclerotinia and blackleg resistance, so you get a season-long solution that optimizes yield potential, disease protection and efficiencies on your farm. 

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If you have any questions about how to maximize your canola crop at any stage of the growing season, please reach out to your Corteva Territory Manager.