Canola or Rapeseed

Canola or Rapeseed

Crop Rotation - Crop Development

• As a Rule, Crop Rotation practices improve the performances of crops.
• By varying crops in the same season, farmers can spread equipment demand throughout the season, reducing costs while increasing utilization.
• Canola should not be planted directly after a canola crop or with only one season’s separation.
- Blackleg (Leptosphaeria maculans)
- Alternaria Black Spot
- Insect
• For any short canola rotation or when planting next to last year’s canola field, select a variety or hybrid that is resistant or moderately resistant to blackleg. If canola is grown consistently on short rotations, blackleg may become a problem, even when planting a resistant variety, because of heavy disease pressure.
• Short rotations are also susceptible to Alternaria Black Spot and can cause growth of insect populations/attacks.
Increasing the length of rotations can significantly reduce the threat of Blackleg, Alternaria Black Spot and insect infestations.
• Rapeseed native areal is Europe and North Africa and the plant was eventually cropped for oil in regions where olive was not fit for cultivation. During the Middle Age, people used it for lighting. Seeds’ content in oil is 40-45%. Rapeseed can be cropped as a winter or spring crop and in rotation takes the same place of winter or spring wheat, but planting and harvesting are earlier if compared with wheat.
• In temperate climates, most common is the winter crop, when in cold climates (Ural Region of Russia, Sibiria and Canada) the crop is mostly planted in spring. Rapeseed is rather resilient to cold temperature and it’s not particularly demanding for soil fertility. Rapeseed has common parasites with other cropped plants; both canola and sugarbeet are affected by nematode Heterodera schachtii: canola, sunflower and soybean are sensible to fungi Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, so the rotation with these crops must be long (2 or better 3 years). Monoculture of canola is highly risky and not recommended: the crop can return on the same field after four years.


Canola seeds are very small and rather poor in vigour: thus in conventional patterns the finishing of seedbed must be particularly consistent in order to have a good quantity of fine soil, which allows for proper seed to soil contact and quick germination. Other patterns are possible: canola is broadly cropped also in minimum tillage and no tillage conditions. In any case sowing depth must be 2 or 3 centimetres: deeper depth hinders proper emergence of the crop.
Primary Tillage for spring canola can be carried out in the fall directly following harvesting season.
A wide choice of tools are available for primary tillage:
- Moldboard Plow
- Chisel Plows
- Disk Rippers
- Offset Disk
• Secondary tillage is carried out before drilling. The goal is to achieve a proper seedbed, which means fine soil particles between 2-5 mm for good contact between seeds and soil.
• Soil with a rough surface hinders proper seed germination and plant growth, ultimately leading to lost potential yield. This is particularly true for canola, which has very thin seeds.
• Uneven Soil Surface heights result in variable moisture and temperature levels, that affect germination processes.

Seeding - Drilling


• Sod seeding allows a huge fuel economy improvement when compared with traditional seeding patterns. If properly carried out with proper machinery, a 50% reduction of costs is possible.
• Sod seeding is adept in managing limited water resources, allowing a more strict management of soil moisture and keeping all the advantages of minimum tillage.
• Weed seeds are not turned up to surface every year, as in ploughing. This helps to decrease the number of weeds per square meter.
• Organic matter is not incorporated in all the layer of soil, but only in surface layers. This improves the soil structure of upper layers where the seed is first drilled: an important part of residues remains on surface, which seriously decreases damages from water and wind erosion.
• The practice of sod seeding requires the proper use machinery in the full harvesting process. Either combines must be equipped with straw choppers or a baler must follow the combine to remove the straw from the fields.
• Maintaining a consistent structure of soils and fields is a requirement for sod seeding.

Crop Protection - Spraying

• In modern canola production, crop protection is of paramount importance no matter the tillage practices. The less intensive the tillage strategy, the more important chemical control of weeds is to crop health.
• Canola is a poor competitor with weeds in first stages of development or when cool soil temperatures cause slow germination and growth. But canola competes more effectively in warm soils when germination and growth are rapid.
• Once weeds have rooted, farmers can expect up to 1% yield loss for each additional day where weeds are allowed to compete with canola for resources.
• Management practices such as thorough seedbed preparation, adequate soil fertility, well-adapted crop variety, and use of good quality seed all contribute to a healthy canola crop that is able to compete effectively with weeds.
• Weed control should be carried out with pre-sowing, pre-emergence and on-top spraying. Weeds or/and pests can damage the yield up to the 100%, if not controlled or controlled too late.
• Pest and insects are a serious threat for canola crops from a very early stage (seedling) all the way to ripening.
• Pest control can be performed by top spraying on high plants. Pests include Armyworm, Caterpillars, Flea beetle, Root maggots, Aphid, Blister beetle.
• When spraying is needed, timeliness is more crucial than in other operations. Weeds and pests need to be controlled as soon as possible.
• Productivity and reliability are important factors affecting the result of spraying operations.
• Cost of chemicals and the negative effect of imprecise treatments emphasize the importance of utilizing precise application systems.
• Uniformity of droplet size promotes consistent crop coverage, more effective pest control, and helps to Control Application Drift.
• Application Drift can happen when particle size is too small for conditions.
• Adjustments of pressure and volume should be varied depending on the target and current weather conditions Example: Weeds vs fungi vs insects.


Normal Timeframe: July - August

• Timeliness heavy influences the quality and quantity of production. If harvesting is too early, then seeds damage is possible when threshing and they can have a high content in chlorophyll: more, drying costs will be prohibitive. If harvesting is late, pods can open and grains fall out, so causing large losses. Moisture content of seeds of 20% tells that seeds are ripe and harvesting can take place. A moisture content between 12 and 14% is ideal for harvesting. If moisture is below 12%, then damage can occur. Realistic yield for winter canola is about 2.5-4 tons per hectare: for spring canola 1.5-1.8 tons per hectare are most common. For storage, moisture content must be 8%.
• Canola should be harvested when grain moisture is between 9 and 14%.
• If Drying Facilities are available OR it is a wet harvesting season.
• Direct Cutting is recommending with a Wheat header (both flexible is preferred, rigid is acceptable) or draper header. Varifeed header are dedicated for canola.
• Varifeed Adjustable Headers are purpose built for canola/rapeseed and small grain, but can also be used for other seeds & beans & pulses.
• Knife position on Variflow headers can be adjusted on the go allowing the combine to adapt to varying crop yields for max capacity.
• If Drying Facilities are not available AND it is a dry/ moderate harvesting season.
• Crop should be cut with a swather and formed into a windrow.
• Crop should be then collected using a Combine with a Pickup Header.

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