The window of opportunity to plant the 2011 canola crop began Saturday, Sept. 10 2011 but continuing drought conditions may delay early seeding. Conditions across the Southwest region remain exceptionally dry but with some relief in sight at the end of the week.

New and experienced canola producers should be taking advantage of soil sampling this year and be placing fertilizer and finishing the last round of tillage operations. Most soils in Oklahoma that have been worked are dry, lose and fluffy. 

A good settling rain would do wonders in preparing this soil for planting.  Residue management is key for canola that will be seeded in no-till production systems. Producers need to be getting everything ready for planting, regardless of what method they are using.  The timeline for planting canola this year looks more challenging than past years due to our extreme dry conditions.  Having the soil prepared, the seed picked up and drills calibrated will allow producers to get in the field and get the canola crop seeded.

Weed pressures this fall could be higher if we start getting much needed rainfall over the state. Since weather conditions have been dry, cool season annuals have not had the chance to germinate.  Producers should start scouting fields and checking weed pressures and densities early this fall.  Winter canola doesn’t compete very well when it’s in the seedling stage, so it’s very important to scout fields and make herbicide applications early in the fall if needed. A good rule of thumb, under normal growing conditions is 4 to 6 weeks after the canola has been planted. 

Producers should also be scouting fields for diamondback moth larva and army cutworms.  If insect pressures are high, a tank mix with the herbicide application may be feasible.

Winter canola planting will continue through Oct. 10.  Producers who need assistance calibrating drills may contact Heath Sanders with Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, 1-580-678-2754 or Josh Bushong with Oklahoma State University, 405-361-6941.