Winter canola crop right on track

by Vic Schoonover

December 22, 2013

Warm fall weather and good soil moisture conditions allowed farmers to get a good start on the 2014 winter canola crop, Great Plains Canola Association agronomist Heath Sanders reports.
Sanders said most canola fields have “burned down” since freezing weather has occurred.
“This canola is in what I call dormancy or hibernating mode,” he said. “It has really melted down and is just sitting there, waiting on the warmer temperatures and longer growing days coming in the spring. Appearance wise, it looks pretty rough, but if you go out there and brush away those leaves you’ll see those growing points, the crowns, are still alive.
“If you are a farmer concerned or a producer concerned, go out there and check your fields. I’m still seeing a tint of green across the field. In years past where the canola stayed a little green throughout the winter, this year we’re not going to see that. We’re going to see a lot of burnt leaves, brown leaves, white leaves, stuff like that throughout the field, but as long as that growing point is still green, it is still alive.”
One difference from last year’s crop is the presence of a healthy stand, Sanders said.
“We have a lot better stands,” he said, “especially in northern Oklahoma. I’ve seen bigger canola plants, more robust canola plants. A lot of this canola was in really good shape, good size before the cold snaps came in. There is a lot of good looking winter canola out here this year. A lot of guys are pretty happy with their stands.”
Sanders says with the crop looking so good, it is very important for producers to stay of things to head off any potential pest problems before getting out of control.
“It is always good to go out there to check and see,” he said. “Turn over the leaves and see if youare starting to see some aphids creep in. But, generally this time of year, everything is kind of tucked away, waiting on greening up in the spring. That is when we will see some insect pressure coming in, but it is always good to be out looking and being aware of what your crop looks like, checking its progress to see if anything looks out of the ordinary.
“Guys are thinking, maybe, top dressing here at the end of this year or at the first of the next year. They should definitely be thinking about that.”
Sanders said producers may see some weeds creeping in, but the cold weathe4r will probably keep them in check until about mid-February.
“Growers should wait until the weather is above 50 or 55 degrees for a couple of days in a row to spray Roundup for maximum effectiveness,” he said.