Latest articles


Turn up the heat on aeration fans when drying canola

Some growers grappling with a late harvest and high-moisture crops in 2016 added supplemental heaters to their aeration fans. This grower’s experience may inspire an upgrade to aeration setups for 2017

Things were a little off with Harvest 2016 and Chad Bown was desperate. The farmer from Ranfurly, Alta., was combining 14 per cent moisture canola in late November after a month or more of snow delays. Delivery locations were full, so on-farm storage was his only option. But aeration fans blowing cool air could not […] Read more


A giant leap for soil kind

Soil-health advocates like Jocelyn Velestuk look forward to new technology to help make better decisions to improve both soil health and whole-farm profitability

Jocelyn Velestuk did a lot of spitting the first time she met her future father-in-law. It made a lasting impression. As she describes it, Velestuk and her then fiancé and his father were touring around the farm she would soon marry into. Being a soil scientist, Velestuk scooped up handfuls of topsoil here and there, […] Read more



A nutrient-deficiency flare-up in canola

Everything goes along smoothly for decades, and the same old fertilizer combo produces the same old predicable results. Then soil levels for a particular nutrient dip below the critical threshold and plants grow funny and yields go askew. It happens

Jack Wood noticed strange patches of stunted canola in a field in 2013. By swathing time, those patches were clearly messed up. Pods were short and deformed. Stalks were skinny, and in the resulting windrows, the yield monitor dropped from 40 to just five bu./ac. One adviser said it was heat blast. Wood wasn’t so […] Read more


Comfort builds for straight combining canola

New research and grower experiences are answering important questions about straight combining canola in Western Canada. Comfort with the practice rises as more growers explore where and when it might work and how to improve results

Dale Beutler of Whitewood, Sask. did not have a good first experience straight combining canola. It was 2015. Like many canola fields in the area that year, the one he left standing for straight combining had been reseeded and was late. By the first week of October, stems were still green —even though seeds were […] Read more



Real results from public canola research

Potential benefits include genetic resistance to sclerotinia and clubroot

Publicly funded canola genetics research is producing results in Canada. I recently heard presentations from the following scientists and was impressed with the potential for each project to increase yield or lower input and management costs for Canadian canola farmers. A new way to produce pure seed Tim Sharbel, a molecular evolutionary biologist at the […] Read more


Is strip tillage a residue solution?

We don’t want to see a step backward in reduced-tillage practices. So how can canola growers improve seed survival and crop uniformity in challenging residue situations?

The fall objectives: Make sure the chopper can spread the width of the cut. Have a chaff spreader to avoid the thick harrow-immoveable mat of chaff right behind the combine. Cut higher so more of the residue is standing stubble. If necessary, harrow the crop on a hot windy day. This is the no-till approach […] Read more



Cure canola longer, harvest more

When canola swaths are cured and dry, combines put a lot more canola in the tank and a lot less on the ground

Kristen Phillips already knew that combines capture more available yield when canola is cured and dry, but she was still surprised when she was harvesting one set of Ultimate Canola Challenge (UCC) plots this fall. The Canola Council of Canada’s UCC program for 2016 aimed to help identify agronomically and economically optimal nitrogen (N) rates […] Read more


Blackleg and canola can get along… until

Keys to restoring a healthy relationship between blackleg and canola include wider rotations of both crops and canola varieties with different resistance genes

After hearing many presentations on blackleg in canola, I was confused. I heard that disease pathogens usually harm their host plant, but blackleg doesn’t necessarily. In fact, blackleg and brassica species such as canola usually get along. On the other hand, we know that blackleg is now a major problem. Why? University of Manitoba professor […] Read more



Is stored canola at bigger risk than ever?

Huge bins, straight combining and delivery contracts for June and July have all potentially increased the storage risk for canola. But the basics for safe storage — eight per cent moisture, 15 C or less and regular monitoring — still apply

We don’t really know whether canola in a 25,000-bushel bin stores differently from canola in a 2,000-bushel bin. We don’t know if straight combining reduces or increases canola storage risk. And we don’t know the best way to store canola for 11 months through fall, winter, spring and summer weather changes. Given that many canola […] Read more


Where crop spray chemical goes, clean those

When it comes to cleaning sprayers, the tank is just one target. Here are a few tips for better, faster clean-outs

Ken Munro’s sprayer clean-out strategy is to send tank cleaner wherever the chemical goes. “We start at the chemical inductor and go from there,” says Munro, who farms and works at Central Alberta Co-op’s Green Way Agro Centre in Innisfail. Just cleaning the tank isn’t good enough. Sprayer specialist Tom Wolf — @nozzle_guy — echoed […] Read more