Early spring is a great time to check out how well residue was spread from the previous harvest. Having uniform residue management can make all the difference for seedbed preparation, seeding, and getting that uniform canola stand.
In this Canola School episode, Leighton Blashko, senior technical specialist with BASF, joins Kara Oosterhuis in the field to talk residue management strategies.
It comes down to monitoring the uniformity of straw in a field. “If you have a uniform seedbed, you’re going to have a uniform stand,” says Blashko.
How much straw is there, if it’s spread uniformly, and the size of the residue can all have an impact on the seedbed, which can affect plant establishment of the crop.
“If you’re able to have a very uniform seedbed, you’ll then have the best chance to place every seed in a nice, perfect area, where it has a perfect microclimate to be put at the perfect depth, and to germinate, emerge, and produce a healthy crop,” says Blashko.
If you have uniform stand establishment, you’re able to time things properly — herbicides, fungicides, or a decision at harvest like a seed-colour change measurement for swath-timing or straight-cutting. (Story continues below video.)
Field-by-field make a decision on well that residue is spread. If the combine did a good job, then there’s nothing to worry about, but if you don’t have uniformity, there’s a few options. Heavy harrowing just to spread out the residue is one option.
More aggressive vertical tillage or using high-speed discs has positives and negatives — managing excess moisture in wetter areas of the province or the risk of losing soil moisture in dry areas.
If you have any potential clubroot in the field, then tillage of any kind probably isn’t the best option, as you would be spreading spores across a whole field, says Blashko. The less aggressive you are will keep clubroot spore spread minimized.
Finally, measure the success of your residue management efforts by following-up after seeding and checking on plant stand uniformity.