The Two F’s: Frost and Flea Beetles

By Garth Donald, CCA,Western Canadian Manager of Agronomy, Dynagra

I can honestly say that it has been a while since I have been on my hands and knees trying to see if there is any life left in a canola plant but this last week it has occurred more than I would like it to. When the temperature drops overnight my phone is ringing like crazy trying to figure out if there is damage to the canola seedlings. The best thing to do is to leave the field for two to three days so that you can make a sound judgement call. What is a sound judgement call? Well working with the Canola Council for over thirteen years the numbers of plant we are looking for is four per square foot.

I know most growers say that there are not enough plants but we do have to look at a few factors:

  1. Most growers are growing a hybrid variety
  2. Our seed to soil placement has been greatly enhanced with today’s airdrills
  3. We have chemical options with the herbicide tolerant varieties that will control our weed issues.

These are some things we need to strongly look at when making a judgement decision. Price of the commodity is the last thing we should make our decision on because in a strong market those could be some of the worst decisions ever made and it could be a wreck from the word go

With the issues of frost also comes the issue of flea beetles. Remember everyone, the flea beetles have to chew on the plant to die. With that said you will see some skinning of the leaves which is normal. However, with products like Helix and Prosper there is only fourteen days of control with those products. The control guarantee starts from the time it is in the ground not from emergence. In times of cooler temperatures there is canola that may have have emerged after 21 days. With flea beetles, your head lands are the best place to start looking for damage since they do feed on host plants like stinkweed or wild mustard that are usually growing on the edges of the fields. If you start seeing what is called “shotgun blasting” on your leaves you may need to look at spraying. There are lots of options that can be tank mixed in with your chemical when you are making your first pass which can help on your application cost but if they are bad enough then you might have to spray for them alone.

If you are not sure if you have a problem, call your local seed rep, retail or consultant to get you the information you need to make a sound decision.

Those are my thoughts,

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