Canola School: A lesson on moisture conservation and knee-jerk reactions

With memories of combines getting stuck, high disease levels and all the problems that come with excess moisture fresh in many farmers’ minds, the dry conditions through much of Western Canada in 2017 were a sharp reminder of why moisture conservation is fundamental to farming on the prairies.

“One of the key learnings from this year was moisture conservation was key, especially for growers as we moved further west…,” says Angela Brackenreed, Manitoba-based agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada.

In some cases, the flip-flop from too-wet in 2016 to too-dry in 2017 may have left growers wishing they’d responded differently to the challenges stemming from excess moisture. “We need to be a little careful about knee-jerk reactions to the particular situation we’re in because you just never know what the winter or the next spring is going to bring about,” she notes.

As of now, it looks like moisture conservation will be critical again in 2018, with the 2017 crop using up every available drop of moisture in many parts of the southern prairies.

Angela Brackenreed reflects on the lessons of 2017 in this latest Canola School episode, filmed at the University of Manitoba’s research farm in Carman, Manitoba.