Prairie canola reseeding done ‘in a hurry’

Canola at the cotyledon stage. (Photo courtesy Canola Council of Canada)

CNS Canada — Farmers are reported to have mainly finished reseeding canola fields that were damaged by a frost event in the eastern Prairies in late May.

“It happened in a hurry. A lot of producers, retail agronomists and seed companies were working overtime to get it all done. It’s pretty impressive, a lot of farmers were doing 24-hour shifts,” said Angela Brackenreed, agronomy specialist for the Canola Council of Canada at Minnedosa, Man.

Early trade estimates indicate a million or more acres were damaged by frost, but it’s still unclear how many were reseeded to canola, and how many were switched to other crops.

The industry will get a better indication of the situation when Statistics Canada releases its next acreage estimates on June 30. In late April, StatsCan pegged 2015-16 Canadian canola area at 19.4 million acres.

The fields that have been reseeded to canola are germinating and emerging quickly in many regions. Some parts of Saskatchewan and northwestern Manitoba, however, could use some more rain.

“There are some issues with seed that is kind of sitting in fairly dry soil and not germinating, and some rains for that area would be very nice right now,” Brackenreed said.

Parts of Manitoba also have excess moisture, which could drown out spots on some reseeded fields, but it wouldn’t be anything major, she added.

Farmers are hoping for some more favourable weather conditions to help move things along, as well as moderate temperatures during the flowering period in July.

They will also be monitoring fields for insect damage, such as from cutworms and flea beetles.

“Fortunately for the reseeded crop, for the most part, it has germinated and emerged quite quickly, and the seed treatment appears to be quite effective at slowing down the flea beetles,” said Brackenreed.

“Where they should be monitored quite closely is in those fields that were marginal that did not get reseeded, because they were stressed and are not quite as vigorous.

“They also may have less leaf area to begin with, so the flea beetles can do a lot of damage in a hurry.”

Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.


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