Canola School: Is it a volunteer? Scouting lessons learned from canola emergence

Heading out to the field within a few weeks of canola emergence is a great way to fully assess seeder performance, stand establishment and uniformity, and identify early insect pressure.

When assessing plant establishment, it’s important to distinguish between a seedling that is intended and one that’s perhaps a holdover volunteer from a past crop.

As Keith Gabert, agronomist with the Canola Council of Canada explains, just counting emerged plants is not enough. Canola plants that are already dying from a herbicide pass or are between rows or at a different stage from the seeded crop are likely volunteers (look for the presence or absence of a blue seed coat, too) and shouldn’t be counted in the plant assessment.

If numbers are on the tipping point of low or not enough for full yield potential — less than 5 plants per square foot — more assessment sites per field are necessary before sitting down with a pen and paper and thinking through the scenarios. Does the average really paint a full picture of the field? Are the hill tops bare? Is there decent moisture to start again? Would a green feed crop be an option? Is the field on a busy road and likely to cause coffee shop gossip stress?

Gabert says all of these things are important to consider when assessing a field.

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

Want more Canola School? Check out all the past seasons, here!

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