Challenging spring raises concerns
- 90 per cent of growers indicated that they faced drought conditions and as a result the majority of canola was seeded 1 or more inches deep to try hit moisture.
- 81 per cent of respondents seeded their canola in the second or third week of May.
- Once canola emerged it faced harsh environmental conditions where 67 per cent faced frost, 70 per cent faced extreme heat, 77 per cent faced extreme wind events and drought conditions continued. Additionally, 100 per cent of the farmers that responded indicated that they experienced higher than normal flea beetle pressure. With an already stressed crop, flea beetle damage was extensive and occurred quickly. Insecticide seed treatments were only partially effective and the majority of fields were sprayed with a foliar insecticide one or more times.
To address concerns raised from this survey we want to share research resources that are currently available and share some ongoing research worthy of keeping an eye on.
Apparent reduction in early season vigour resulting in slow stand establishment
Canola faced with numerous harsh conditions this spring (cold/dry soil, frost, heat, wind, insect pressure) resulting in slow emergence and poor establishment. Canola Council of Canada outlines best management practices (BMPs) to ensure you are doing everything in your power help get your canola off to a good start in Canola Encyclopedia (canolaencyclopedia.ca) under the Plant Establishment section. If you have any variety-specific concerns, please contact your seed representative to ensure your 2022 seed choices are the best suited for the growing conditions on your farm.
Insecticidal seed treatments and foliar applications were only partially effective for flea beetle control
The efficiency of many seed treatments relies on soil moisture, and some modes of action are more dependent on soil moisture than others. Therefore, in dry spring conditions, such as 2021, product differences can be magnified.
Foliar insecticides should be applied on a warm, sunny day when flea beetles are feeding for best control. Canola Council of Canada’s Canola Encyclopedia outlines other BMPs for foliar insecticide applications. Look in the Insects section for the Flea Beetles chapter, which includes insecticide control options.
Populations of flea beetles have shifted to include more striped flea beetles than ever before. MCGA funded research by Juliana Soroka shows that control options for flea beetles aren’t always able to control striped flea beetles as well as they control crucifer flea beetles. For full research reports on population shifts and how these shifts may be influencing control, search for “flea beetles” on the Canola Research Hub at canolaresearch.ca.
Economic thresholds for foliar insecticide applications are outdated and don’t take into consideration current cultivars, plant stands and environment conditions
An ongoing MCGA-funded research project at the University of Manitoba by Alejandro Costamagna is working to update the economic thresholds for flea beetles for modern varieties using current plant densities. To check out project objectives and progress, go to the Canola Research Hub at canolaresearch.ca and search for “integrated approaches for flea beetle control”.
Hot and dry conditions promote rapid flea beetle feeding and movement, which should be taken into consideration when making control decisions. Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC) research scientists, including Juliana Soroka, demonstrated how environmental conditions influence flea beetle activity. Check out the full report on the Research Hub by searching “spring flea beetle injury”.
Is there a possibility for genetic resistance for flea beetles?
Researchers at AAFC, led by Dwayne Hegedus, are investigating canola that will produce hairs (trichomes) to deter flea beetle feeding. Keep up to date on this project by searching “genetic resources for flea beetle resistance” on the Canola Research Hub.
Manitoba Canola Growers Association welcomes new research manager
Mangin received her undergraduate degree in agronomy at the University of Manitoba (U of M) and worked as an agronomist for Pembina Co-op before starting her master’s degree (MSc), centred on herbicide resistance, at the University of Alberta.
“I’m very excited to take on this role with MCGA. This opportunity really stood out for me as it lets me use my research background to ensure that farmers’ voices are heard and are directing research being funded with their levy dollars,” explains Mangin. “My goal is to ensure that farmers are not only aware of the research being funded, but know how the results of the projects will help them target challenges they are facing on their farms.”
After receiving her MSc, Mangin went on to work as a research agronomist in the soil fertility lab at the U of M and is currently finishing up her PhD in the Department of Plant Science at the U of M.
“MCGA’s research file has grown in recent years, driving the need to introduce a dedicated manager who can take our research and extension capabilities to the next level for our membership,” says Delaney Ross Burtnack, executive director. “Amy brings expertise, innovation and vision that we look forward to tapping into.”
Research and agronomy have always been important and valuable program areas serving canola farmers in Manitoba. Introducing a dedicated research manager will further advance the strong canola research network and ensure efficient resource utilization, allowing MCGA to bring even greater value back to Manitoba farmers by growing our ability to connect farmers’ needs with research results.
“Farmers need innovation to manage changing pest pressures, changing climate, and changing market demands, all while continuing to operate a successful and sustainable farm business,” says Clayton Harder, MCGA president. “As our research program continued to grow and evolve, the board recognized this opportunity to expand our resources dedicated to research and agronomy in Manitoba, to the benefit of farmers. We are introducing this three-year term position to explore how we can level up our research and extension work, ideally transitioning to permanent support at the end of the term.”
To learn more about research funded by MCGA visit our website at www.canolagrowers.com.