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Weather conditions hampering canola crop

A variety of weather conditions across much of the Prairies is contributing to higher soil moisture, yet canola seeding continues, with as much of 70 percent of the crop seeded in parts of Alberta, down to just 15 to 20 percent complete in Manitoba.

May 22, 2009  By Canola Council of Canada

May 21, 2009

In Manitoba, soil moisture is bordering on excess in many areas. Rainfall last week was quite general with most areas receiving one to two inches. However some areas of the southwest received as much as four inches. In the northwest, some areas received eight to 12 inches of snow on Thursday night/Friday morning. Producers are looking for warm, dry conditions to complete seeding. Overall about 15 to 20 percent of the canola crop has been seeded.


In Saskachewan, the eastern side of the province is experiencing adequate moisture conditions with many areas receiving rainfall or snow last week. One exception is a dry pocket near Aylsham and Carrot River. The western half of the province is dry and many areas are in need of moisture. Earliest seeded crops are beginning to emerge but are patchy. Additional moisture is needed for more even emergence. No precipitation was received in the dry pocket around Unity, Kerrobert, Kindersley, and Rosetown. Producers are seeding canola into dust or have stopped seeding until moisture conditions improve. Overall about 50 percent of the canola crop has been seeded.

In Alberta, soil moisture conditions are variable, ranging from excess to dry. In the extreme southwest near Cardston, fields are wet and very little seeding has occurred to date. Last week’s snow fell west of Highway #2 so conditions remain relatively dry in the southeast. In the Peace River Region, wet snow has halted field operations but brought needed moisture to both southern and northern areas. Overall about 55 to 70 percent of the canola crop has been seeded.

Seeding operations were halted in many areas due to rain and snow last week and over the weekend. Where conditions are wet, canola seeding is about 10 to 30 percent complete. Where drier conditions prevail, canola seeding ranges from 50 to 100 percent complete. A significant amount of the acres intended for canola is expected to be seeded within the next week to 10 days – weather permitting and where soil moisture is not excessive.

Time for a germination check

When scouting, scrape back the soil and find the seeds or seedlings as their condition is an important indicator of germination/emergence. Hard seeds are probably an indication that conditions have been too dry and/or cold to facilitate germination. Unless most of the seeds are soft and seed decay is taking place, additional moisture and/or warmer temperatures may be all that is needed. If the seed coat is cracked, note the structure of the developing seedling. Seedling turgidity is a function of the emerging hypocotyl remaining rigid and having enough moisture to push through the soil surface. The healthy emerging hypocotyl will be firm and white. If moisture in the seeding zone runs out during emergence, the hypocotyl will dry out and discolour, often turning brown and wilt. This phenomenon is common in areas where soil surface moisture has dried out due to wind or lack of rainfall. The result is patchy emergence. It is often misdiagnosed as a seedling disease complex such as damping off. Cool, dry soil conditions are often the main culprit in poor emergence due to lack of seedling turgidity.

To see the rest of this report, check the Canola Council of Canada website at:

Or for specific conditions, check the canola reports on the respective provincial government websites.


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