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A Big Year Ahead for Volunteer Canola

Smoke Volunteer canola right down to the roots!

For a while, last year’s prairie canola crop had the look of a record-setter. For many growers, however, it didn't happen that way. Yields came in less than expected in many areas across Western Canada. As it turns out, some of the seed that didn't end up in the combine will make a comeback this spring: as volunteer canola.

"We had some awful wind events last fall," says Dan Orchard, Central Alberta Agronomist with the Canola Council of Canada. "It blew the canola swaths around and standing canola started shelling out, and this happened across the Prairies. This is one reason I expect to see a lot more volunteer canola in 2013."

As Orchard explains, another factor supporting higher volunteer canola populations is the legacy of an unusual disease year in 2012. Long-time foe sclerotinia, and a less common disease called aster yellows, took yields down a notch or two even before harvest, as crops shelled out prior to being swathed.

"A lot of people thought they had a bigger crop than what ended up in the combine," says Orchard. “That seed went somewhere and some of it will be coming back this year as volunteer canola."

Controlling volunteer canola

For growers coming off a canola year, volunteer canola is one of the weeds they’ll be looking to control with a pre-seeding burndown. Glyphosate, of course, won’t control volunteer Roundup Ready® canola. To get volunteer Roundup Ready® canola, growers will need to add another mode of action to their burn-down application, like Express® brand herbicides.

Removing weeds like volunteer canola early with a pre-seed application allows the crop to get off to a great start.  The crop is able to utilize the moisture and nutrients, not the weeds.

DuPont™ Express® herbicide: A smoking hot start to a profitable crop

Doug Fehr, Saskatchewan-based Technical Sales Agronomist with DuPont Crop Protection, says many growers favor DuPont™ Express® brand herbicides as their glyphosate add-in. As a Group 2 herbicide, Express® controls volunteer canola resulting from the previous year’s Roundup Ready® or InVigor® canola crop. Adding Express® to Group 9 glyphosate also makes for far-sighted resistance management.

“When you consider pre-seed, chemfallow and post-harvest burndown, Express® SG and Express® PRO go down with glyphosate more than any other products in Western Canada,” says Fehr. “You’ll get tremendous action on volunteer canola as well as many hard-to-kill weeds such as dandelion, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard, flixweed, stinkweed and wild buckwheat.”

Which Express® is right for the situation? As Fehr explains, if you’re seeding a cereal crop, Express® PRO can deliver up to 15 days of extended control of un-emerged volunteer Roundup Ready®, InVigor® and conventional canola. Not all glyphosate add-ins can do this. In other words, with Express® PRO, growers have additional flexibility in that they do not need to wait for weeds to emerge before the application.

Express® SG, on the other hand, means maximum flexibility in terms of seeding options. Just 24 hours after application, you can seed a wide variety of crops, including cereal crops, canary seed, field peas, dry beans and soybeans*.

An unusual set of circumstances made 2012 a challenging year for canola production and could make 2013 a busy year for volunteer canola. Still, as Fehr notes, volunteer canola is never a weed to take lightly.

“Canola is very competitive,” he says, “and early removal of volunteer canola always supports higher yields as opposed to later removal. The sooner you get rid of that competitive factor, the better off your crop will be.”

*consult label for specific directions including soil type restrictions.

As with all crop protection products, read and follow label instructions carefully. The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont™, The miracles of science™, Express® and Solumax® are registered trademarks or trademarks of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. E. I. du Pont Canada Company is a licensee. All other products are trademarks of their respective companies. Member of CropLife Canada. © Copyright 2013 E. I. du Pont Canada Company. All rights reserved.