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Early spring management practices for winter canola

Early spring management practices for winter canola

Time to topdress winter canola Annual grass control is recommended Scout for insect pests in canola

Winter canola producers in Kansas should be preparing now for spring management of their fields, said Mike Stamm, canola breeder for K-State Research and Extension and Oklahoma State University.

To be equipped for the second half of the winter canola growing season, Stamm outlined several management guidelines he advises producers to keep in mind.

  • Now is a good time to topdress any remaining nitrogen scheduled for application. This application should be made just as the crop returns to active growth but prior to bolting. Avoid crushing bolted winter canola with applicator tires. This may cause lodging and delay maturity, which can slow harvest. 
  • Producers can control winter annual grasses and broadleaf weeds in the spring. Cheat, downy brome, feral rye, Italian ryegrass, and other grassy weeds can be controlled with Select 2 EC or Assure II herbicides in conventional canola, or with glyphosate if using a Roundup Ready cultivar. These herbicides should be applied as weeds begin to actively grow. Do not apply glyphosate if canola is bolting since severe injury will occur.
  • Scout fields for green peach aphid and turnip aphid at this time of year, even if a seed treatment was used. Oklahoma State University recommendations suggest walking in a diagonal path across the field, sampling three consecutive plants at 10 stops every 25 yards. To prevent economic losses, aphids should be managed when there are 50-180 aphids per plant. Left uncontrolled, aphids can completely devastate a canola stand in the early spring.
  • As temperatures increase, army cutworms start to feed aggressively and damage can be severe if unnoticed. The larvae hide in loose soil at the base of plants, emerging to feed in the evening. Cutworms also can be found underneath the previous year’s crop residue, or under dead leaves at the base of the rosette. Look for foliar tissue damage and severed green leaves lying on the ground as evidence of feeding. Canola should be treated when there is an average of two or more larvae per foot of row.

For more information, contact the local county or district Extension office or see K-State publication MF-2734, Great Plains Canola Production Handbook, at:

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