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2020 Canola Seasonal Summary

Canola acreage in Ontario was similar to last year, with 29,019 acres insured in 2020. Spring canola acres have declined in most regions, including a drop in Temiskaming District from about 11,300 acres in 2019 to about 9,300 acres in 2020. Nipissing added 700 acres compared to last year, for a total of nearly 2000 acres. Combined acreage in Cochrane District and Northwestern Ontario has remained around 4,800 acres insured. Acreage in other areas is trending downwards, especially in central and eastern Ontario. Interest in winter canola continues to expand across all parts of the province south of Lake Muskoka. It is estimated that there were between 1500 to 2000 acres of winter canola harvested in 2020.
 
Spring Canola Planting and Development
 
The spring planting season was more forgiving in 2020 than in 2019. By the end of April, most intended acres had been seeded in Bruce County and more than half in Simcoe, Grey, and Wellington Counties. Mid-April snow delayed planting for Northern Ontario producers. Spring canola seeding wrapped up across the province by mid-May.
 
Conditions were generally dry through spring, although there were reports of wet conditions in Cochrane District in early June. Canola emergence was slow on dry fields. Through late May and early June, most regions saw large swings in temperature, from below-zero to temperatures above 30°C within a week. The canola was stalled in northern regions by a frost in early June, but few replants were reported.
 
Spring Canola Insects and Diseases
 
Flea beetle were abundant again this year. Many fields were sprayed with insecticide and some were replanted. Early-planted fields that experience dry conditions or colder temperatures tend to move slowly through seedling stages. Slow growth gives flea beetle more time to cause significant damage when canola is most vulnerable, from emergence to the 4-leaf stage. The below-zero temperatures in early May did not deter flea beetle instead driving them down to feed on plant stems.
 
Swede midge pressure, while difficult to evaluate without widespread trapping, was likely greater this year than last, particularly in northern regions. This may be due to higher acreage of spring canola in the north in 2019, increasing local midge populations. However, major damage that prevented plants from bolting was not reported on significant acreage. Swede midge were not caught in traps in Emo area, which was the first attempt at monitoring for the pest in the northwest.
 
Diamondback moth are an occasional pest of spring canola in Ontario. They were noted in northwestern and northeastern Ontario in low numbers in spring. They have also been observed during pod fill in recent years.
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