Canola yield and temperature

Lots of farmers are looking to the weather as a scapegoat to explain lower-than-expected canola yields

In the past few years, fabulous canola yields have been achieved. 

The 2012 crop appears not to be near as big, and many suspect warmer temperatures to be a factor. With all the hype about global warming, if we look at actual temperature data our July, temperatures are cooler if anything. 

The past many summers Environment Canada has predicted hot summers and they have been wrong. The cool July weather has saved our bacon — or at least our canola. 

But 2012 was warmer, although not a scorcher like 1987 or 1988.

The data in the table is taken from the reference listed below — work by Wes Nuttall of Melfort, Sask., well known canola guru Keith Downey and J.P. Raney.

Old Westar could really yield. We grew 65 bushels per acre of it on irrigation trials many years ago. But, the importance of cool temperatures on canola yield is driven home by that data. Part of the lower canola yield this year is probably temperature related. † 

J.L.(Les) Henry is a former professor and extension specialist at the University of Saskatchewan. He farms at Dundurn, Sask.

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