Canola and Edible Bean Seasonal Summary - Brian Hall
Canola acreage slipped below 60,000 acres, as corn and soybeans gained ground. An exceptionally early, warm and dry spell in mid March allowed farmers to get a jump on spring canola planting under excellent soil conditions. Emergence on early planted canola was generally very good. Repeated frosts at the end of April resulted in significant visual damage and some stand thinning. Dry and cool conditions through much of May resulted in slow and uneven emergence in later planted fields impacting plant populations. These same emergence issues occurred in the Temiskaming canola production area.
High flea beetle pressure in many areas on top of the slow and uneven crop development was problematic. Swede midge was a problem in midwestern Ontario affecting later May planted fields which had not bolted at time of infestation.
The yield of early planted canola was often better than expected having escaped some of the hot, dry conditions the rest of crop experienced. For the majority of canola the hot, dry conditions came during flowering and pod development, taking a bite out of yields. Rainfall amounts and timing varied greatly from farm to farm, often within a close geographical area. Reported average yields through midwestern Ontario varied widely but were often 10 -16% below normal. The most disappointing yields came from canola fields heavily damaged by Swede midge. Canola yields in northern Ontario were generally above average by 10-16% except for areas where wet fall weather delayed harvest, increasing field losses. This year’s provincial average is 0.84 t/ac which is on par with long term average.
Producers must continue to strive to achieve quick uniform emergence by optimizing soil conditions, seeding depth, population and choosing the best varieties. Thy hot dry weather that limited canola yields also resulted in lower responses to management inputs. 2012 trials confirmed canola requires sulphur but there was no benefit to rates over 10 lbs S/ac. The most economical nitrogen rate was around 120 lbs N/ac. Lower final plant populations this year reinforce that stand establishment continues to be one of biggest challenges in growing canola.
The flea beetle challenges were a reminder of the need to regularly scout canola fields following emergence and of being prepared to react. In 2012 a higher proportion of stripped versus crucifer (black) flea beetle was apparent. Stripped flea beetles emerge earlier, are more aggressive and more tolerant of seed treatments than crucifer flea beetles. Research continues into management of Swede midge that affects late planted canola.
A field trial measuring combine header losses showed significant differences between standard makes and modified combine headers and the need for further focus.
Excellent soil conditions allowed a majority of the crop to be planted on time. Emergence was generally good, except in areas that were very dry which resulted in uneven emergence and some replanting.
Insect and disease pressure was very low throughout the season except for a few areas where early leafhoppers numbers warranted foliar spray. White mould and anthracnose disease pressure was low and generally did not warrant fungicide application.
Yield of very early planted beans suffered from hot, dry conditions during reproductive growth stage. In areas that received timely rains, yields were much higher than anticipated with some outstanding yields exceeding 3000 lb/ac. White and black bean yields were higher than expected in most areas, favouring full season maturity varieties. The provincial average is expected to be above the long term average. Yields on coloured classes including azuki, otebo, and kidneys were generally good. Some fields of full season coloured beans were not harvested due to wet weather. Overall quality of all classes was very good, but seed size was smaller than normal.
Pre-harvest herbicides applied during the beginning of the harvest period were quite effective. The cool, cloudy weather that followed resulted in much slower activity and poor results which delayed harvest and required some re-spraying of fields were required.
Edible bean acreage continues to be under pressure from corn and soybeans. Delays in accessing better preharvest herbicide options remain a frustration for growers. Newer Ontario developed upright higher yielding bean varieties with improved disease resistance across several bean types look promising and will become available to growers over the next couple of years.
Edible beans are very susceptible to the effects of tillage, soil compaction and poor soil structure. Soil management that builds soil structure and minimizes crop stress through the use of cover crops, rigorous maintenance of a 3-4 year crop rotation, managing residue, and the addition of organic amendments like manure continues to be a focus of growers, extension, and researchers to reduce root rots, reduce production risks and increase bean yields