The dry pattern has continued. It has been a hot and dry week, with the wind not helping matters either – blowing at 30-50km’s more often than not. Outside of a freak rainstorm last night over 10% of our land (1/2″ of rain!) we have not had a measurable rain in a long time.
Flea beetles have been attacking early planted canola, and we have sprayed the first 2,000 acres so far. With dry conditions, canola plants are not growing very fast. With spotty emergence (still a fair bit of seed laying in the dust, and some that sprouted and then died) and lower moisture in the top layer, the thresholds for spraying are much lower. What doesn’t appear too bad in the morning can be significant damage by evening – that’s how fast they can do damage when there are fewer plants. The seed treatment on our canola only has a life of around 21 days, and once that has worn off the flea beetles have no deterrent. Unfortunately the better seed treatments that were available 10-15 years ago are no longer allowed – which forces us to have to make 1 or 2 passes with insecticide to control them. The type of flea beetle we are seeing high populations of is the striped flea beetle. They are harder to kill, and they tend to feed on the stem of the canola plant rather than the cotyledon or the leaf. This makes it both harder to detect and measure damage levels, as well the damage to the stem can be much more harmful to the plant and less likely to recover or grow through it.
Its not all bad news, the cereals have decent emergence – plant counts are lower than what we had planned, but we seed at the higher end of seeding rates, so we are still within acceptable levels. Canola emergence in our northern fields are also better than our first seeded which was our southern fields. The land we had 1/2″ of rain on last night was all canola and was some of our driest land – and this rain will be enough to get everything germinated and give us some time before more rain.
Weather forecasts are changing. They have always been saying that the June weather will be the time for change – it was just a matter of when in June that would be. This weekend they are calling for better rains and better coverage. IF that materializes we could still see close to full potential – BUT if this fails to materialize we will start to see permanent yield reductions taking place.
Here is to hoping the weather is finally changing, and that our next update will be of good news!