To combat the effects of flea beetle damage, the Canola Council of Canada advises that canola be sown at higher seeding densities, larger seed size, and later in the season. Research has shown the benefits of each practice independently, but there exists limited literature on how all these recommendations, acting in conjunction, affect canola production. Through this experiment, by assessing interaction effects we may be capable of measuring the true flea beetle response to these recommendations and provide new recommendations based on these possible interactions. 2020 was the first year of this three-year study, and canola growth was greatly limited at NPARA due to weather-induced stress. Through the years to come, however, the accumulation of data across multiple sites will provide for a robust assessment of these cultural practices.
The experiment was carried out at three sites across northern Alberta: NPARA, Mackenzie Applied Research Association, and Smoky Applied Research and Demonstration Association, and set up as a four-replicate, split plot analysis. The objective of the flea beetle canola trial was to evaluate the impact of seeding date, seed size, and seeding rate on flea beetle leaf damage and flea beetle population:
Along with total flea beetle counts, counts of each particular species was recorded. Other dependent factors assessed include percent damage of seedlings up to two leaf stage, percent of planted canola to reach maturity, and harvest yield.