Quite the weather extremes we have been experiencing. Two weeks ago we had over 8 cm of snow, and less than 10 days ago we had overnight lows of -3C. This past week we had daytime highs of 34C!
With the heat, the flea beetles have become a problem. They usually are more active in warmer weather, and with the extreme heat, the canola plants are growing slower – and the damage can go from minor to extreme in a couple of days. We have ended up spraying all of our canola for flea beetles – the damage they can cause is too extreme to take any risks. Thankfully we had enough sprayer capacity to stay ahead of the flea beetles. Since we were going over the fields anyway, we tank mixed in the first pass of herbicide. We grow Liberty tolerant canola and use a two herbicide pass system. The first pass gets the early emerging weeds, and the second pass gets the field clean again prior to the plant completely cabbaging out. This is especially important for hard to control weeds like cleavers – which can get out of hand in a short amount of time.
To beat the heat, we have been starting to spray at 3:30 am and then shut down between 10 am to noon when it gets too hot. When it gets too hot, the flea beetles are no longer active and hiding in the shade under the stubble; and the weeds are not actively growing and do not take up the herbicide. Both sprayers are equipped with the same precision equipment from John Deere, so they both can spray in the same field and be able to see the other sprayer on their monitor. This also works for the sectional control, which will turn the sprayer on/off when they approach where the other sprayer applied product. I will discuss more detail on the precision equipment and benefits in future posts – really quite amazing.
This next week the weather is cooler and calling for increased chances of precipitation by the end of the week. So far moisture conditions are satisfactory, but the hot and windy conditions last week did pull a lot of the moisture out of the ground.