Wait before reseeding frostbitten canola: CCC

Canola growers in several areas of the Prairies who woke up to frost-damaged crops this morning should wait at least four days to assess damage before taking drastic action.

The Canola Council of Canada on Tuesday advised canola growers to wait a minimum of four days, because plant recovery depends on frost severity and subsequent weather conditions.

Look at the growing point, the council said. If there’s any green colour at the centre of the leaf rosettes, the majority of plants should recover and yields will be higher than if the field is worked and reseeded. Even with blackened cotyledons and/or leaves, regrowth can occur in four to 10 days.

Also, check the percentage of plants killed, the percentage recovered, and the weed population for the time of year, the council said. If most of the field (80 per cent) has a minimum of 20-40 recovering, healthy plants per square metre (two to four per square foot) and a light and/or easily controlled weed population, don’t reseed, the council said.

The council also advised farmers to remember that a reseeded crop will be at greater risk for fall frost damage.

Canola can compensate for lower plant populations because surviving plants can take advantage of reduced competition for light, moisture and nutrients. Plants will produce more branches, pods and seeds per pod, compensating for the lost plants.

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