Western Producer: You grew canola, now what?
Crops dependent on early season phosphorus, such as corn and flax, can suffer stunted early growth if seeded into fields following canola because of changes in soil chemistry, according to Mario Tenuta, soil ecologist at the University of Manitoba.
Corn and flax are both oil-bearing crops, but that’s merely a coincidence in this scenario, says Tenuta, because corn is a grass and flax is a dicot.
“What they do have in common is a dependence on fungus in the soil in order to pick up phosphorus,” he says, adding that corn and flax require the mycorrhizae fungi.
“These fungi help with early season phosphorus uptake in corn and flax, but also in alfalfa, sunflower and pulses. Canola does not use mycorrhizal fungi at all. Canola grabs phosphorus on its own, without the help of fungi.”
Tenuta explains that mycorrhizal fungi enter a symbiotic relationship with those crops upon which they depend.