Many factors contribute to getting a successful stand of winter canola in Kansas, said Stamm. The following is a brief listing of important considerations.

  • Well-drained, medium-textured soils are best for winter canola establishment.
  • Soil pH of 5.5 to 7.0.
  • When planting canola after crops such as sunflower, soybean, alfalfa, or cotton, remember that they share several diseases with canola. Planting canola continuously is not recommended and is uninsurable. Often, canola is planted after grass crops such as wheat, oats, and corn because these crops do not share diseases.
  • Fields with heavy winter broadleaf weed pressure should be avoided if possible. If planting where heavy broadleaf weed pressure exists, consider planting a Roundup Ready cultivar.
  • Be aware of the herbicide history of potential sites. Winter canola cultivars are sensitive to sulfonylurea and triazine herbicide carryover. Commercial varieties with tolerance to sulfonylurea herbicide carryover can be planted the fall following a spring sulfonylurea application.
  • A weed-free seedbed is critical to establishing winter canola.
  • Weeds must be controlled chemically, mechanically, or with a combination of both methods prior to planting. Canola seedlings are not competitive with weeds.
  • A seedbed with many large clumps results in poor seed placement and seed-soil contact. An overworked seedbed may be depleted of moisture and will crust easily, potentially inhibiting emergence.
  • Soil testing, including a profile sample for nitrogen and sulfur, is important in determining fertilizer needs.
  • Fertility needs are similar to winter wheat; however, canola needs slightly higher levels of nitrogen and sulfur.
  • Canola requires more sulfur than wheat because of its high content of sulfur-containing proteins. Sulfur deficiencies are most common on coarse-textured and low-organic-matter soils.
  • Nitrogen applications must be carefully balanced. Too little or too much fall-applied nitrogen may negatively affect winter survival. One-third to one-half of total nitrogen (based on expected yield) should be fall-applied.
  • Applying high rates of fertilizer in-row at planting is not recommended because canola is sensitive to ammonia and salt damage. Preplant broadcast application is the safest method.
  • Apply lime so that pH is in the range of 5.5 to 7.0 and early enough so the lime has time to react.
  • No added phosphorus is required if the phosphorus soil test is above 30 parts per million. More potassium should be applied if soil test levels are under 125 ppm.
  • No matter what herbicide program you use, the most important thing to remember is to control weeds early in the fall.
  • Before applying herbicides, take care to ensure there are no traces of problem herbicides, such as sulfonylurea herbicides, in the sprayer equipment.
  • An insecticide seed treatment is recommended for control of green peach aphids and turnip aphids through Jan. 1.
  • Monitor canola stands for: grasshoppers, army cutworms, flea beetles, aphids, and root maggots.
  • The best control of canola diseases is achieved through careful rotation.
  • Maintaining proper rotation intervals, planting disease-free seed, and using fungicide seed treatments are important management practices to slow the spread of blackleg disease. 

For further information, see the newly revised Great Plains Canola Production Handbook, at any local extension office, or: http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/crpsl2/mf2734.pdf.