Canola School: Test soil temperature to mitigate disease and insect pressure

As the snow melts, many producers across the Prairies are eagerly awaiting for the day they can get in the field — if they there aren’t already.

Sheldon Toews, technical service specialist with BASF, says when it comes to getting canola seed in the ground, farmers definitely need to pay attention to soil temperatures.

“You want that soil temperature in between eight and 10 degrees Celsius,” he explains, adding that canola will germinate as low as two or three degrees. Just because it will germinate doesn’t necessarily mean it should go in the ground however, as at that temperature it becomes susceptible to a lot of diseases and insects.

“The warmer the soil temperature, the faster it’s going to come out of the ground and, be able to start establishing and using the sunlight to grow,” Toews says.

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Canola is a small seed, which makes it sensitive to those cooler temperatures. When it comes down to the actual logistics of testing soil temperature, it’s important to try to get out twice a day if you can.

“[Go out] around that nine o’clock in the morning, and then probably again around supper or just after supper time, and then take the average of those temperatures,” Toews explains. “That kind of gives you a good base for what the soil temperature is going to be.”

Check out the full conversation between Sheldon Toews and RealAgriculture’s Kara Oosterhuis, below: