Canola School: Take a stand against flea beetles in a(nother) dry year

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

The premise behind why a good healthy plant stand is important when battling flea beetles in canola is simple: the fewer beetles per plant, the less likely they’re going to damage more than 25 per cent of the total leaf area.

In dry conditions, too much seed-placed fertilizer can hurt that plant stand and help flea beetles get the upper hand, explains Keith Gabert, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada, joining us for this seeding-focused Canola School episode.

“Your best defense against flea beetles is to put enough seed in the ground, get an adequate plant stand established, get that stand growing vigourously and get through that stage where you have the possibility of having issues with flea beetles,” he says.

While the Canola Council recommends having five to eight plants per square foot, the next target is to have those plants establish three-to-four leaves by three-to-four weeks after seeding, notes Gabert.

Seed-placed fertilizer is more likely to spend more time in contact with the seed in dry spring conditions. “Only putting safe rates of phosphorus fertilizer with the seed in the row is a standard recommendation, but it becomes really critical in a dry year,” he says.

As a test, he recommends shutting off the seed-placed fertilizer on the drill for a short stretch in the field, and then comparing that area to the rest of the field in the coming weeks.

Check out this Canola School episode for more on getting that great canola stand, as seeding operations begin:

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