Recent snowfall and frost in Alberta and some other parts of the Prairies may be prompting canola growers to consider reseeding, but the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) urges producers to wait a few days or longer to assess the damage.

“Resist the urge to immediately reseed, as recovery may turn out to be better than expected, especially if seed has not yet germinated or the young seedlings have become acclimated to the cold,” advises CCC senior agronomist Doug Moisey. “The snow cover will act like a blanket in some respects and may protect the crop, especially if the snow cover came prior to the severe freezing temperatures, although the plants will be under stress.”

“If the seed that has not germinated is still hard/firm, not soft/mushy, it likely will be fine.”

After several days of near freezing temperatures, emerging canola that is near the surface or that emerged under cool conditions will undergo a gradual hardening process, allowing the plants to withstand freezing temperatures without serious damage.

Studies have shown that early-seeded canola seedlings that had undergone hardening could withstand minus 8 to minus 12°C temperatures. That’s because cooler conditions result in plants that are slower growing, producing smaller cells that have a higher concentration of soluble substances that make them more resistant to frost damage. This hardening off process helps defend plants against the chain of plant gene activities set off by cold weather that produce or degrade the proteins that protect plant cells.

Growers should wait at least 3-5 days or longer depending on growing conditions to assess their canola crops, says Moisey.

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For more information in your area, contact:
Derwyn Hammond, Manitoba Region, 204-729-9011
Jim Bessel, North Central and North Eastern Saskatchewan, 306-373-6771
Tiffany Gutzke, Eastern Saskatchewan, 306-231-3663
Doug Moisey, East Central Alberta and Northwestern Saskatchewan, 780-645-9205
Matthew Stanford, Southern Alberta and Southwestern Saskatchewan, 403-345-4852
John Mayko, West Central Alberta, 780-764-2593
Erin Brock, Peace Region, 780-568-3326