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Keys to Success in Canola

​Control What You Can Control

Manage the factors of success within your control to be optimally prepared for the factors beyound your control.

​Hybrid Selection

Hybrids are developed with the yield, maturity and disease resistence as the key selection criterica. Selecting the proper hybrid for you situation is key for maximum yield performance.​

Disease Managment

Blackleg, Clubroot, and Sclerotina are significant diseases plaguing canola crops in the Northern US.


The managment of the disease involves an integrated system; field scouting, use of resistant varieties, crop rotation and fungicide application.


Choosing resistant hybrids, crop rotation, reduced tillage, and proper equipment sanitation are all key managment practies to reduce Clubroot incidence.


​Choosing varieties with excellent standability and genetics resistance, along with field monitoring and fungicide applications when conditions warrent, are the best approach to managing Sclerotinia.


​Seed Early

Data from university reserach conducted in the Northern US shows the potential benefits in yield outweigh the risks of frost damage by seeding canola early. Considerations when seeding canola early include increasing the seeding rate to account for higher seedling losses early in spring. We recommend increasing target seedling rate by 10-20% for early season planting.

Seed to a Target Population

Canola has traditionally been seeded at 5 lbs per acre. This was fine when all varieties were oppen-pollinated. Modern hybrids can vary significantly in seed size and can perform better at lower plant populations than previous research has shown with open-pollinated varieties. Target for populations than previous research has shown with open-pollinated varieties. Target for populations of more than five plants per square foot for hybrid varieties.


Fertilize for Optimium Yield

Nitrogen and sulfur are key nutrients for high canola yields. A 2000 lb/acre crop will use 120−140 lbs/acre of N and 25−30 lbs/ acre of sulfur. Canola is a high user of sulfur relative to other crops. Sulfur is taken up by canola in the sulfate form. Elemental sulfur  is not immediately available to the canola plant, so fertilizer programs incorporating sulfate fertilizer are recommended for sulfur-deficient soils.

Early Weed Control

Weeds are highly competitive, and can use up resources - moisture, nutrients, access to sunlight - that would otherwise be available to the crop. Yield loss from weed competition can be significant. Best practices are to control weeds early with  a combination of pre-seed weed control  and one in-crop application before the 4-leaf stage.

Monitor Insects Early

Canola is susceptible to damage early in the spring by flea beetles. Seed is treated with insecticide to protect against flea beetle damage. Under certain conditions, flea beetle pressure may require additional post- emergent insecticide applications. Monitor the crop at emergence for flea beetle pressure. If damage is evident, monitor closely and be prepared to spray if cotyledon damage exceeds 10−20%. Once plants are at the large 1−2 leaf stage, the canola is able to outgrow the potential damage. Early damage to cotyledons and stems at emergence and cotyledon stage is normally protected by seed treatment but needs to be monitored closely.

Swath Timing

Don't swath too early. Research indicates that the optimum time to swath is when an average of 60% seed color change (SCC) appears on the main stem. Delaying swathing of any canola variety up to this stage can typically improve yield and quality through increased seed size, reduced green seed and higher oil content, while avoiding economic shattering losses prior to or during swathing.

Dry Crops Sufficiently

Improper storage of canola can be costly. Dry canola as soon as possible, and if you can't dry tough or damp canola immediately, aerate continuously and move canola between bins to prevent spoilage. Store canola at 10% moisture or lower and monitor bins for heating.