Crop & Pest Report


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Canola (05/21/20)

The average North Dakota canola yield for the last 12 seasons was 1,700 pounds per acre.

The average North Dakota canola yield for the last 12 seasons was 1,700 pounds per acre. The yield potential varies by year, based on environmental conditions (Figure 1). Some farmers report canola yields in the range of 2,000 to 3,000 pounds per acre, when weather conditions and excellent crop management come together. Below are a few crop management suggestions.

Select a hybrid that has a proven high-yield potential in University and company trials. Obtain data from trials from several locations in your growing region. Results from the 2019 NDSU canola variety trials can be found at

  • Field selection is important. Canola does well following small grains or fallow in a rotation. With canola in a crop rotation, there should be at least a two-cropping-year wait before canola is seeded again. Avoid crops such as sunflower, dry bean and other Sclerotinia (white mold)-sensitive crops in close rotation with canola. Select fields that are free of troublesome weed problems.
  • Plant seed with a high germination percentage and with good seedling vigor. Planting seed treated with an insecticide and fungicides for seedling protection is recommended.
  • About 25% of the canola acres in North Dakota have been seeded as of May 17. Canola is a cool-season crop and should be seeded as soon as possible. Research shows that yield potential may be reduced with delayed planting. This mostly is a result of the increased potential of high temperatures during flowering. Hot conditions during flowering shorten the time the flower is receptive to pollen, as well as the duration of pollen release and viability. This can decrease the number of pods that develop on the plant and the number of seeds per pod, resulting in lower canola yields.
  • Canola should be planted into a firm seedbed and at a uniform depth. The recommended seeding depths are 3/4 to 1 inch. A seeding rate of around 600,000 live seeds per acre (14 live seeds per square foot) should result in an established plant stand of 10 to 12 plants per square foot (435,000 to 522,000 plants per acre), which would be adequate for high yields. Four plants per square foot are considered a minimum stand for canola. Hybrids differ in the number of seeds per pound.
  • Canola responds well to applied fertilizer. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and sulfur (S) are the key nutrients for high yields. Always have a soil test done to help you know how much fertilizer to apply. Consult the NDSU fertilizer recommendations at
  • Control weeds as early as possible because a lot of competition early during the growing season can reduce yields very quickly. Monitor for any late-emerging weed flushes that were missed during the first herbicide application.
  • Monitor for any flea beetle or other pest problems, especially the first three weeks after crop emergence. Be prepared to apply an insecticide if the seed treatment does not hold long enough or the insect pressure is too great.

As the canola gets near the bud or early bloom stage, start monitoring the NDSU canola disease risk map website at for Sclerotinia stem rot (white mold) potential. Be prepared to get a fungicide applied to the crop when the Sclerotinia risk map indicates a high risk for the disease.

hans kandel Plsc


Hans Kandel

Extension Agronomist Broadleaf Crops

This site is supported in part by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144/accession 1013592] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the website author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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