Canola School: Wind shear complicates crop recovery from other stresses

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

Canola is an adaptable crop, but stressors such as frost or wind shear can make flea beetle damage more serious or staging the crop more difficult.

Ken Wall, grow team advisor with Federated Co-operatives Ltd., joins Kara Oosterhuis in the field for this episode of the Canola School to talk about the impact of the intense winds across the Prairies the past couple weeks.

“Wind shear is a little different than frost — frost, you can have damage to your leaves but if your growing point is okay, the plant can recuperate and come back from that,” says Wall. “With wind shear, quite often what happens is you get the cotyledons sheared off at the stem, and typically the growing point is right between the two cotyledons when the plant first comes out of the ground, so if you lose that, the plant is done.”

Wall says that even if you don’t have the recommended five to seven plants per square foot, canola is really elastic and can branch out — even three to four plants per square foot would be sufficient. However, once you get down to one to two plants per square foot, and if large patches of a field are missing, a re-seed might need to be considered.

If the growing point is still intact, the chances of survival are pretty good. Wall suggests identifying some suspected plants with coloured washers or flags to be able to come back and check on them.

If there’s a lot of wind shear damage to the crop, consider what the growing conditions are like for the next period — flea beetles have the potential to finish that crop off, so be on top of the situation with frequent scouting. Patience is key also when it comes to applying herbicides after a stress event like wind shear, as the crop needs time to gain new growth in order to metabolize the herbicide.

Catch the full conversation below:

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