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Rely On Management, Not The Book

Growing canola has gotten easier since herbicide-tolerant varieties were commercialized 20 years ago, but pulling off high yields still requires good management.

“You just can’t seed the crop and walk away from it,” Anastasia Kubinec, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives’ (MAFRI) oilseeds specialist told those at the 16th annual Crop Diagnostic School organized by MAFRI and University of Manitoba here at the university’s Ian N. Morrison Research Farm July 5.

Farmers still need to scout their crops and control yield-robbing pests.

“Any hybrid you get on the market is probably going to get you a pretty good yield as long as you control your weeds, control your diseases and control your insects,” Kubinec said. “Saying (a variety yields) 150 per cent of check in the book may look great, but it’s the management you put into it that’s going to get you that 150 per cent. It’s not because it says so in a book.”

Sclerotinia is the most prevalent canola disease in Manitoba. It also attacks other crops, including sunflowers and edible beans. And while many farmers routinely spray a fungicide to protect their canola, it isn’t always necessary, Kubinec said.

The fungal disease is widely present, but it takes the right growing conditions before a crop is infected. There’s a checklist farmers can use to assess how susceptible their crop is before spraying.

Blackleg is another fungal disease that attacks canola. The last 20 or so years blackleg has been controlled with resistant varieties, but some varieties are now susceptible.

The best way to prevent blackleg is to only grow canola on the same land every three or four years, Kubinec said. [email protected]

About the author

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Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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