2022 Canola Seasonal Summary

Figure 1. Yellow canola flowers with branching green stems

Spring Canola

There was roughly 36,800 acres of spring canola insured by Agricorp in 2022. Compared to 2021, planted acreage across Ontario was similar. There were regional differences with planted acreage being slightly higher in Northeastern Ontario, and slightly lower in Northwestern Ontario

Spring conditions were favourable for early planting throughout most of Ontario with seeding dates ranging from early to late May. In the Northwest, heavy rainfalls were recorded from mid to late May, prompting Agricorp to extend seeding deadlines for insurance. Compared to previous years, reports of flea beetle and swede midge pressures were low this year, resulting in fewer insecticide applications. There were increased reports of club root impacting yields in northern regions, specifically Timiskaming District. Despite fungicide applications, reduced yields were reported due to heavy white mould pressure in northeast region. Later in the season, growers in parts of southwest Ontario encountered reduced rainfall leading to drought stress around bloom and resulted in reduced canola yields.

Harvest conditions were mostly favourable for spring canola with dates ranging from early September to early October. Early yield estimates averaged 2,500 lbs/ac, which is above the 10-year average, but this value is subject to change once final yields are reported. Regionally, the Temiskaming area reported good yields, with a small number of growers in this area reporting yields averaging 2,600 lbs/ac.

Winter Canola

Roughly 10,600 acres of winter canola was seeded the fall of 2021 and insured by Agricorp. Winter canola has been produced in many counties ranging from Simcoe to Essex, and Bruce to Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry. As a reminder, the optimal planting date for winter canola (Mercedes variety) is the first week of September. Planting date may impact winter survival with planting dates closer to mid-late September commonly being claimed under insurance and being replanted.  

Slugs are problematic in winter canola because it is planted following wheat and any residue left in the field provides an ideal habitat for slugs. Reports from the Ottawa region confirm that in a no-till system, slug damage may be more problematic. However, damage may still be observed when conditions are wet, or in field perimeters in tilled fields. While cabbage moths have been recorded in fields, their presence in the fall have not been observed to cause significant yield damage.

Many winter canola fields were harvested in mid-July in favourable conditions. Yield reports received by OMAFRA were between 2,800 and 3,500 lbs/ac. Some growers have begun successfully double cropping soybeans after a harvest of winter canola in Essex County.

Initial reports estimate acreage of planted winter canola in Ontario continues to increase in 2022. A combination of early planting dates and unseasonably warm conditions through October into mid November have promoted significant plant growth in Lambton and Essex Counties. Larger plants in the fall are not a concern as fall bolting has not been observed in the Mercedes variety.