When it comes to protecting canola from sclerotinia, timing is everything
May 17, 2016 - In canola, sclerotinia remains one of the most damaging diseases, and left unprotected, growers across Western Canada are witnessing yield losses of up to 50 per cent of their crop.
"With tighter rotations and increasing high moisture conditions during the critical period of canola flowering, growers are seeing an elevation in sclerotinia pressure throughout Western Canada over the past few years," said Glen Forster, Fungicide Technical Marketing Specialist in Western Canada for BASF.
According to Forster, when it comes to controlling the losses caused by sclerotinia with a fungicide application, timing is everything. In fact, extensive BASF research trials prove that optimal application timing of sclerotinia fungicides including Lance occurs at the 20 to 30 per cent bloom stage with up to 50 per cent bloom still providing positive economic returns. Spraying canola at this ideal stage gives the highest level of sclerotinia control, and maximizes the efficacy and return on the fungicide investment.
Over the past decade in both research plots and grower trials, Lance has consistently provided the highest level of sclerotinia control and the greatest yield increase in canola in both research program and field scale trials, and newly introduced Lance AG brings additional benefits including improved tolerance of minor stress during the critical flowering period.
"With Lance, it is really a tried, tested and true solution to protecting your canola crop," said Forster. "But to maximize results, proper scouting to determine application timing is crucial. In fact, many growers apply fungicide at the end of the application window and could be getting better results with better timing."
When it comes to detecting bloom stage however, it might not be as easy as it looks, as a canola crop can appear quite green from the road at the 20 to 30 per cent bloom stage. By the time the field is in its most yellow stage of flower, it is likely to be at the 50 per cent bloom stage, where the window of optimal application is either closed or closing, making it hard, if not impossible, to treat all acres effectively. To properly assess the timing window of application, Forster says that it is crucial for growers to be walking in their fields and scouting on a daily basis, and assessing 10 to 25 plants from different parts of their field.
"The average number of flowers on the main stem should be around 15 to 20 flowers including pods, making it an ideal time to spray," said Forster. Most importantly, you always want to spray before any petal drops from the canola flower."
Assessing your risk for sclerotinia
• Moisture – the higher the moisture prior to the canola flowering stage, the greater the risk for an outbreak of sclerotinia.
• Temperature – sclerotinia grows, thrives and develops in 15 to 25 degrees Celsius – common temperatures experienced throughout Western Canada during the spring and summer months.
• Crop Density – the greater the canopy in a field of canola, the greater the risk for sclerotinia, making it very important to protect high, dense canopies and high yield potential crops.
• Rotation – the tighter the rotation between canola crops or other host crops for sclerotinia, the greater the risk for infection.
"We've been using Lance for a number of years now on our farm," said Dan Ronceray, who farms along with his father near Somerset, Man. "We spray Lance at about the 20 per cent flower stage and feel that our canola gets us more bushels, protects the yield and protects our crop from sclerotinia. It's like buying insurance on our farm and I would definitely recommend it to any grower who wants more bushels in the bin."
For more information on Lance visit www.agsolutions.ca.