Canola College 2014- Josh Bushong Talks About New Approaches to Residue ManagementMon, 24 Feb 2014 14:44:09 CST
At the recent Canola College event in Enid held for prospective and seasoned canola growers, Oklahoma State University Extension Canola Specialist Josh Bushong addressed the topic of residue management. He said it is different than what wheat growers using no-till methods are used to and it all boils down to getting the canola seed in solid contact with the soil. (Bushong talked with Radio Oklahoma's Ron Hays and you can hear their full conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.)
“Obviously, there’s a lot more interest in no-till in Oklahoma and the southern Great Plains, so a lot of producers are wanting to know how they can utilize canola in their no-till systems. Obviously, it does take a little different approach than winter wheat. There are some different options and methods the guys are using that they are having more success with. What we’ve found out over the last few years is that the more aggressive we are at getting rid of that residue at least out of the seed furrow, the better off we are.”
Bushong said seeding is crucial with canola because it grows differently than wheat. The crown of the canola plant grows above the soil surface, not below it as does wheat.
“We really want to keep that crown close to the soil surface. If we have a thick residue layer out there-a bunch of crop residue-that plant will put that growing point further away from the soil. The further away from the soil, the more winter kill we have. So, in order to sustain a stand throughout the winter, we really need to do what we can on the farmer’s side to give that crop all the opportunity.”
Leaving the right amount of residue can be a tricky proposition, Bushong said. It all depends on the individual farmer’s type of equipment, the amount of residue remaining in the field and the weather during the upcoming winter. When in doubt, the less residue left in the seed furrow is always better, he said.
As far as the condition of this year’s crop, Bushong said it is still a little too early to tell. Some fields were hit with a couple of early freezes before the crop was really established and some farmers had to replant. December turned out very cold and this may have resulted in more winter kill in those replanted stands. More well established stands did go into dormancy, he said and we should know more about how this year’s canola crop weathered the winter in a few weeks.
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