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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Crop Watch 2018 Things To Watch For As Your Crops Emerge

As you make the last pass in the field with the seeder you move onto watching for crop emergence. Ideally you may want to see your crop come up within a week of seeding. But more realistically it can take up to 2 weeks before you will start to see the crop emerge.

Crop emergence is the first prediction of crop success so as you see the plants pop through the soil you want to be checking for plant population, weeds, insects and nutrient deficiencies.

Plant Population
Crop emergence is a great time to evaluate your choice of seeding rate, drill performance and seeding depth. For canola, wheat, barley and peas optimal plant populations are 7, 24, 24, and 7 plants per square foot respectively. While there isn’t much you can do to change your plant population after seeding, it is a time to make notes and adjust accordingly for next year. For more information about seeding rates and plant populations read more in this Alberta Agriculture article.

You want to catch the weeds before they get to large and take moisture and nutrients away from your actual crop. Common weeds to watch for include: volunteer canola, wild oats, cleavers, lambs quarter, dandelions, field horsetail and storks bill. When you start to see the start of weeds hit them with a herbicide when they are still small.

Canola is prone to bugs, so ensure you are watching closely for signs of insects in your crops. The common insects to watch for are Cutworms and Flea Beetles.

Watch for patches of bare crop, especially on hill-tops. If you start to notice there are areas with less plant population be sure to check them out more closely. Dig around the bare patch or wilted plants and you will likely find the worms as they eat off the root of the plant as the images show below. Spraying at night is effective to kill cutworms.

Flea Beetles
Commonly feed on plants of the mustard family. Watch the leaves of the plants for holes; evidence that a bug has been eating on it. Last year we saw a lot of scenarios where the flea beetles were actually eating on the stem first before the leaves so ensure you are checking the whole plant when crop scouting. Flea beetles move into crops very quickly so daily scouting may be necessary to catch them before they take over.

The following are some of the common plant health deficiencies we see and their respective signs.

Watch for yellowing of leaves mostly on matured leaves, and stunted growth to the plant.

Occurs in new growth, watch for the stems turning yellow while the leaves turn a very bright yellow.

Effects stressed plants at a younger stage, late stage plants may appear purple. Reduced tillering in cereals can appear.

Look for yellowing of leaves, and drooping of the older leaves. Cereal roots are more susceptible to disease and stalks are weakened.

Catching signs of weeds, bugs and lack of nutrients in the early stages is important to reduce the effect it will have on yields. Ensure you are checking your crops regularly and taking the necessary steps to apply herbicides and fungicides to reduce your risk.Looking for help on understanding what you are seeing in your field as you are crop scouting?

We have a Precision Ag team including an Agronomist; Chelsea Pearce here to help you come up with solutions to the issues you see. Contact your local Ag Sales Rep to be put in touch with the right member of our Precision Ag Team today!

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