Frosted Canola Peace Country

Assessing Frost Damage in Your Canola

With May long weekend in Canada, seems to come cool weather (or snow) and looking at the forecast you might be wondering whether or not a canola reseed is in your future. After a long, exhausting spring season, this is the last thing anyone wants to have to think about. If this becomes a reality for you, there are resources to help you assess your field, and the CANTERRA SEEDS sales team is always available to assist.

The Canola Council of Canada has many resources to help you evaluate fields impacted by frost damage on your farm.  For detailed information on how to assess the impact of frost in your field, read "Spring frost: Did the crop survive?" 

Some key takeaways from the Canola Council for judging frost damage are:

  • With a light frost (0oC to -2oC), the risk of crop damage is minimal, especially if the field was already exposed to cool temperatures and had a chance to harden off.
  • In the case of a heavy frost that kills off cotyledons:
    • Wait a few days to assess damage.
    • It will take a few days for the new leaves to emerge from the growing point.
    • If after a few days there is no new growth or there are pinched off stems and plants flopping over, this likely means these plants have died.
    •  1-3 plants per square foot and a consistent stand throughout the field may mean not reseeding.

To see how damage may change your spray plans, visit the Canola Council website for recommendations: Spring frost: When to resume weed control?

We're here to help

Remember, frost doesn’t necessarily mean a reseed. Here are a couple anecdotes from our sales team after a heavy frost situation.

“In 2015, we had a hard May frost. I had a grower at Castor [Alberta], with 1,600 acres of CANTERRA SEEDS [canola]. Went out, showed him how to assess and he only reseeded 130 acres. It’s important to go out, assess and help with the decision to reseed. If 2-3 plants/ft2 are still there, you are better off not reseeding.”
Page Newton, Territory Manager – Southern Saskatchewan

“In 2017, I had a situation where frost stand assessment was zero. Zero plants per square foot. I was panicked and we figured it was up to crop insurance now. [The farmer] pulled off 42 bu/ac canola after that. It’s important to remember that some seed hasn’t germinated yet and even if the leaves are completely frozen, but the growing point is okay, it will still grow.”
Candace Reinbold, Territory Manager – Peace Country

If you have to make the tough decision to reseed, CANTERRA SEEDS has a reseed program to help support your farm. Reach out to your local Territory Manager or retail partner for more information, 

Courtney Welch joined CANTERRA SEEDS in November 2020, as Canola Product Manager. Prior to CANTERRA SEEDS, she spent several years as an Agronomic Research Specialist with Monsanto/Bayer, working with their soybean, canola and corn breeding programs. Courtney has a B.Sc. degree in Plant Biotechnology from the University of Manitoba.

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