Adequate moisture continues to be a concern in many areas of Western Canada, including the Canola 100 field we are working on. With that, we continue to hear comments across the west regarding how “crops look good for rain we got” or “didn’t think anything would grow with no moisture” and even “what are they doing to get crop like that, because we haven’t seen any rain”. This is a testament to farming practices and our efforts to conserve moisture, as well as our attention to the details. With many things out of our control to grow a crop, fine tuning those that are in our control continue to make big differences.
For those of you that have been reading the previous articles about our journey to produce 100 bushels of canola, you will know that moisture has been a challenge for us all along. We got off to a very good start with a great plant stand and early season moisture, but the clouds have been very sporadic since spring. We have stuck with our plan and continue to make sure we are not allowing crop nutrition to become a stress for these plants. We have also added YaraVita HYDROPHOS to supply an energy boost and get greater primary root growth, and more root hairs. A larger root structure provides more access to moisture and soil nutrition.
In the previous article we addressed potassium and its importance in regulation of water in the plant. We have experienced some very hot days (>30OC) throughout the summer. This is hard on plants as they need to be able to maintain water levels and keep themselves cool through transpiration. With adequate potassium and increased root structure, plants can continue to access moisture and regulate their temperature.
Here are some pictures of the check side versus challenge side after flowering has finished. You can tell that the check field had too much stress and the top flowers have been lost. The plant aborted the pods after an accumulation of too much stress. These stresses included nutrition, heat, and lack of moisture. In addition to the loss of pods and consequent yield potential, the check side was also leaning far more than the challenge side. There was a noticeable line in the field between the tests with the check leaning heavily and the challenge side remaining straight up. We can see on the challenge side that the plant was able to flower fully and produce pods right to the top of the plant, with these additional pods adding up to the final yield. Multiple stresses will contribute to a loss of yield potential. On the challenge side we have eliminated crop nutrition as a stress and in turn allowed the plant to better cope with the heat and lack of moisture.
Here is another picture that shows a comparison of the two sides of the field. The upper pod is from the check side and the lower pod is from the challenge side. There is an obvious difference in the seed plumpness at this point, once again pointing out the importance of potassium in canola nutrition.