canola midge

Pictured is midge damage on a canola plant. This was one of the topics that Janet J. Knodel, Ph.D., Professor & Extension Entomologist at NDSU, talked about at the virtual Canola Expo held on Dec. 8.

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The Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA) held their 23rd Annual Canola Expo virtually by Zoom on Tuesday, December 8, 2020. NCGA President Pat Murphy welcomed everyone to the virtual event.

The first presenter was Dr. Ventak Chapara, Assistant Research Professor, studying crop protection at the Langdon Research Extension Center. Chapara presented information on clubroot research and testing. Clubroot is caused by the P. brassicae pathogen. It infects hosts of the brassica family, which include canola and weeds known as wild mustard, Shepard’s purse, volunteer canola, and stink weed. It prefers acidic soils but has been found in soil with a pH of up to 7.2. Once in the soil, it can live as long as 20 years as resting spores. The pathogen infects the roots, causes galls, and restricts water and nutrients to the plant, thus reducing yields. Cavalier County has seen yield losses of 25 percent. Best management practices to control clubroot include scouting, rotating a non-host crop on an infected field for two years, using a seed variety that is resistant to clubroot, testing soil for pH (if pH goes below 7 and you have clubroot spores, you need to follow these management practices), eradicating weeds that host clubroot, monitoring the equipment that enters your field to prevent spread, and applying soil amendments (beet lime tested the best). There is a significant amount of literature available on clubroot from NDSU and the Research Center. Dr. Chapara can be reached at 701-256-2582 or 701-566-3685.

The second presenter was Dr. Janet Knodel, Extension Entomologist and a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at NDSU in Fargo. Knodel presented information on canola insect pests. The two major pests of canola are the crucifer flea beetle and the striped flea beetle. Insecticides recommended for flea beetles were the neonicotinoids (group 4A) and diamides (group 28). It was noted that neonicotinoids have been used for over 18 years, and widespread adoption of one insecticide class used year after year can cause insecticide resistance. Knodel shared data from Lesley Lubenow’s Ph.D. project regarding insecticide seed treatments and flea beetles. Neonicotinoids were still effective against the crucifer flea beetle, however, the diamide insecticide was slower to kill beetles but did stop feeding after initial ingestion of the insecticide. The striped flea beetle was more tolerant than the crucifer flea beetle to the neonicotinoid seed treatments tested (active ingredients thiamethoxam and clothianidin) and the diamide seed treatment tested (cyantraniliprole). The spring population of crucifer flea beetles also was more susceptible to the neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments than the summer population.

The swede midge and the canola flower midge are new and emerging pests. The swede midge has not shown up in ND yet, but the canola flower midge was detected in pheromone traps for the first time in Bottineau, Cavalier, Pembina, Towner and Walsh counties in 2020. Host of the canola flower midge is canola, and researchers do not know of any other hosts yet. Larvae damage the crop by causing bottle-shaped closed flower buds that produce no pods or seeds. Early planted canola (mid-May) had more canola flower midge damaged pods compared to late planted canola (early June). However, early planted canola had the highest yield due to other more important agronomic factors, such as less heat stress during flowering. Insecticide seed treatments were ineffective for reducing the canola pod damaged by the canola flower midge since it emerges 4-6 weeks after seeding, and insecticide seed treatments are only effective 3-4 weeks after seeding. Since canola flower midge is a ‘new’ insect of canola, it is not known if it will become an economically important insect pest of canola yet. Dr. Knodel can be reached at or 701-231-7915.

The next presenter was Lesley Kelly, who farms with her family at Watrous, Saskatchewan. She is a blogger, writer, and speaker. She is the co-host on 'What the Farm' podcast, head of High Heels & Canola Fields, and co-founder of the Do More Agriculture Foundation. Kelly is not a mental health professional but has become an advocate for mental health. She can be reached at Kelly defined what stress is, that stress itself is not bad but being stuck in it is bad. It is important to name your stressor and talk about it. In disagreements, dialogue is key in finding the win/win solution. Lastly, she covered the importance of finding and doing the things that give you joy, which are different for everyone. Seek professional help if needed. Kelly shared a favorite quote from her dad, “If you want to be successful, it isn’t about how much land you have or the type of equipment you drive; it’s about how we work together and how we take care of each other and ourselves.”

The keynote speaker was Jim Wiesemeyer, Washington Policy Analyst for Pro Farmer and daily contributor to Pro Farmer’s online website. He also participates in Farm Journal’s Agri-Talk radio program twice a week and writes for the Agricultural Letter. He can be reached at Wiesemeyer gave a summary of the November election. If Republicans retain control of the senate, Boozman from Arkansas will be chairman of the Ag Committee. Mike Crapo from Idaho will likely be the new chair of the Finance Committee. Sixty percent of the most important issues go through the Finance Committee. If Democrats win control of the Senate, Stabenow from Michigan will be chair of the Ag Committee. In the House, Colin Peterson lost to Michelle Fischbach, so there will be a new Ag Committee chair there. For the new head of the USDA, Biden is considering Marcia Fudge from Ohio, Heidi Heitkamp from ND, and Tom Vilsack from Iowa. Wiesemeyer reminded listeners that it was important to look at subcabinet positions, not just cabinet appointments. The top USDA economist was leaving, and the new head of the USDA will likely pick the replacement. The top economist was the principal author of the trade mitigation program.

In Canadian markets, January canola is now above July 2013 highs. China is restricting but not banning Canadian canola exports. Canadian canola exports are running about 50 percent ahead of this time last year. Canada wants to boost biodiesel incorporation to 11 percent.

Wiesemeyer did not see any substantial changes to the crop insurance program as it has wide bipartisan support. He feels it is the best risk management tool he’s seen in 40 years of watching risk management in agriculture. Biden will call for a study of Trump’s trade policies, which is normal. Reports say China wants to renegotiate. Trump threatened to leave the World Trade Organization, but Biden wants to reform it. Trump left the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his 3rd day in office. Biden wants to rejoin the TPP, but it will take time. Wiesemeyer said the key to the future of the renewable fuel standard program is the 550,000 charging stations for electric vehicles that Biden wants to construct across the country. It’s not a question of if but rather when electric cars take over the majority of new car sales. Canola is a very viable biodiesel product. In the question & answer period, Wiesemeyer stated that he did not see Congress going after the farm bill funding this year in order to service the debt, which is $27 trillion now. He ended his presentation with his belief that canola growers are in one of the biggest growth industries for the next decade.

The virtual meeting then broke for lunch and resumed with the NGCA annual business meeting. The morning speakers were recorded and posted on the NCGA Facebook page.


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