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Canola Maturity Chart*

Tips from the Field

Canola Diseases - Blackleg Management

Why use essential nutrients?

Should you upgrade your seed treatment?

Blackleg Management

Blackleg could be considered to be the most important disease in canola. It has been on the rise in recent years and even low severity blackleg can result in yield loss of up to 20 per cent. It has the potential to not only cause significant yield loss, but could be a potential trade issue as many countries that import canola have no tolerance to import this disease. The good news is blackleg can be controlled with good agronomic practices, using blackleg resistance hybrids and rotating blackleg resistance hybrids.

Blackleg resistance in canola, however, is not infallible. Blackleg is composed of many races and growing the same blackleg resistance canola in the same fields could lead to the disease still showing up. It is critical that you determine if your blackleg resistant genetics are holding up. To do so, scout your fields in the fall right after straight-cutting or swathing. You want to choose a few areas of the field to scout that give you a good representative sample of the overall field.

Randomly choose 20 plants in a 100 square-foot area and clip the stems right at the soil surface with a pair of shears. Use the images on the right to give each clipped stem a blackleg score, then average your results together to get an overall score for the field.

If your field’s blackleg severity score is 1.5 or higher, blackleg resistance could be breaking down in the field. As the disease will spread on canola residue, it is recommended to increase your canola rotations (allowing the host plants to break down) and also rotate your blackleg resistance hybrids.

Blackleg is caused by a fungus, so incorporating a fungicide application in your canola crop production plans is also a great strategy to help protect your canola — especially if you are unsure of your blackleg resistance genes. Application should be at the early growth stages of canola to prevent spores from germinating on a canola leaf and infecting the plant.


No disease visible in cross-section.

Yield Loss 0


Diseased tissue occupies 25% or less of cross-section.

Yield Loss 17%


Diseased tissue occupies 26-50% of cross-section.

Yield Loss 34%


Diseased tissue occupies 51-75% of cross-section.

Yield Loss 52%


Diseased tissue occupies over 75% of cross-section. Plant is not dead.

Yield Loss 69%


Diseased tissue occupies 100% of cross-section. Tissue is dry and black.

Yield Loss 86%

Source: BASF AgSolutions

Why use essential nutrients?

In recent years, plant nutrition has moved far beyond the basics of N, P, K and S. It’s not that these familiar macronutrient aren’t important; it’s more that our understanding of what micronutrients can contribute to plant health and crop yields has grown by leaps and bounds.

“A customer used Magnify® in his cereal crop and you could see a line in the field, which is rare occurrence. The difference between the treated and untreated check was amazing to see.”

— Jocelynne Palin, UFA CAM Strathmore

“There is a lot more research and science behind essential nutrients,” says Brian Gross, Product Strategy Manager, Crop Nutrition with UFA. “We understand more about what plants need and when, and how essential nutrients can fill the gaps.” Indeed, you can influence up to 60 per cent of a crop’s yield by applying essential nutrients at the right time through the growing period.

UFA offers three essential nutrient products to help farmers tap into the genetic potential of their canola, cereal and pulse crops.

“Amplify® is applied right to the seed,” says Gross. “It’s a proprietary formulation that delivers the essential nutrients necessary for quick, vigorous germination, rapid vegetative growth and maximum seedling vigour.”

“UFA essential nutrients are specifically formulated for each crop and for Alberta conditions — that makes a huge difference. Copper can be harmful to canola, for example, so our canola products take that out and up the boron levels instead.”

— Catherine (CJ) Wolski, CCA, UFA CAM Red Deer

Magnify® is a foliar-applied essential nutrient product that drives root growth by boosting nutrient uptake through the leaf and driving metabolic activity in the plant. “It’s applied at early herbicide timing,” says Gross.

The third product, Multiply®, is a later foliar-applied essential nutrient package designed to promote seed set and pod development.

What makes UFA’s essential nutrient products unique is that two of them, Amplify and Magnify, contain Transit-S. “What that does is regulate hormonal expression in the plants,” says Gross. “That not only enhances nutrient absorption, but also maximizes vegetative growth and nutrient use efficiency.”

“Using the right essential nutrition products is important to achieve key yield goals. Feeding your crops the required micro and macronutrients at different growth stages allows the plant to produce larger root masses and has shown to reduce the effects of environmental stress, such as drought or excessive moisture.”

— Sheldon Budzak BSc, CCA, PAg, UFA CAM Westlock

Also unique within the industry is UFA’s Essential Nutrients Performance Guarantee. “If you use two or more of these products on the same crop in the same year, we guarantee you’re going to do more than break even, or we will replace your product,” says Gross.

Guaranteed Performance

Should you upgrade your seed treatment?

Early season insect patterns are definitely changing. The striped flea beetle is now the dominant species and cutworms are also on the rise. The result is that insect feeding is not only occurring earlier, it’s occurring on different places on the plant, which makes the decision to over-spray a bit more difficult than it used to be. “Striped flea beetles are up earlier, feed more voraciously and they feed on the stem, making it harder to determine when an economic threshold has been reached,” says Darold Niwa, UFA Agronomist.

The action threshold for leaf feeding flea beetles hasn’t changed — when you see 25 per cent leaf damage, use a foliar insecticide. Stem feed can be more damaging to the crop and is harder to scout. The best time to check is on cool, wet days when flea beetles move off the leaves and down the stems.

Niwa says cutworms are getting worse, too. “We’re seeing not only more, but new and different species of cutworms with new feeding patterns,” he says. “Moving forward, we need to take a large, firm step in terms of preventative measures.”

While all canola seed comes pre-treated with an insecticide, that treatment can be fortified with Lumiderm® or Fortenza® for added cutworm and flea beetle control. “I think growers should evaluate their situation,” says Niwa. “Take a look at field history and insect patterns in their area then ask themselves if they are happy with the seed treatment package they have, or whether they need to upgrade to a stronger insect control.”

Talk to your local UFA Customer Account Manager (CAM) today to help determine the right product for you.

Photo courtesy of the Canola Council of Canada

“Striped flea beetles are up earlier, feed more voraciously and they feed on the stem, making it harder to determine when an economic threshold has been reached.”

— Darold Niwa, UFA agronomist

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