OMAFRA REPORT: Canola seasonal summary for 2019

A weekly report prepared by the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). If you require further information, regarding this report, call the Elora Resource Centre at 519-846-0941.  Office hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm.  For technical information, call the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or visit the OMAFRA website:

Planting and Development

Spring canola acreage in Ontario declined 25 per cent in 2019 compared to the previous year. Insured acres totaled just over 30,000 compared to approximately 40,000 in 2018. Five counties that grew canola in 2018 did not appear in the insured acreage statistics this year. Some producers were unable to plant all their intended canola acres because of cold, wet weather through April and May. Export trade instability likely contributed to the reduction in canola acres as well.

It is likely an understatement to say that spring planting conditions were challenging. Wet weather as well as cool conditions that prevented drying caused planting delays across most regions in the province. Floods and rainfall warnings took place in Eastern Ontario and Nipissing District in the first two weeks of May, along with snow and rain in Temiskaming and further north. Few if any producers found a planting window in April or early May. Rain continued to fall every few days in most regions through to mid-June. Most of the crop was planted towards the end of May and into the first week of June. Planting in June is generally not recommended because of the increased risk of swede midge damage and late harvest, but in some regions later planted fields had better moisture during pod fill in August and September.

Temperatures were much lower overall than in 2018. Heat unit accumulation was very slow through May and June, and even in July temperatures dipped below 10°C some mornings in “southern” spring canola regions. Simcoe County and northeastern Ontario were drier than normal through July and August and may have had shallow root systems because of plentiful moisture earlier on. Some soils moved from too wet to baked dry causing significant stress and abortion of flowers and pods.

Insects and Diseases – Flea beetles were abundant in spring based on numerous reports, and many fields were sprayed. In some areas, particularly Wellington County, flea beetle activity continued through to the end of the season. There are no established thresholds for controlling late season flea beetle. Pre-harvest intervals for insecticide application may limit late season options. Flea beetle can strip pods and contribute to green seed and shatter losses but varieties with pod shatter resistance appeared to hold up well.

There were no reports of significant incidences of canola disease in 2019. White mould was limited due to dry conditions during susceptible stages. Clubroot spores are present on many fields and in most canola growing regions but many producers have selected clubroot resistant varieties and there were no reports of significant damage this year.