Fertility and Nutrients
Canola Council issues first seasonal report
By Canola Council of Canada
The Canola Council of Canada began its annual series of crop updates this week, with a report on soil moisture, soil fertility and overall pace on the seeding thus far.
May 7, 2009
Soil moisture conditions across western Canada range from poor to excess. In Manitoba, the Red River Valley still remains submerged under the swollen Red River although water levels have receded 2.5 feet. The majority of agroManitoba has good to excessive moisture. In Saskatchewan, soil moisture conditions range from dry to excellent. Moisture from the snowstorm last week stayed south of Highway #1 so areas north of Swift Current, and north and west of Gravelbourg are dry. Soil moisture conditions are fairly dry in the Kindersley, Rosetown and Unity areas. There is an extremely dry pocket in eastern Alberta around the Coronation and Consort area where conditions are similar to those of the 2002 drought. Many areas of central Alberta and parts of the Peace River Region are relatively dry and will require spring rains shortly after seeding.
Excess moisture this spring may cause sizeable fertilizer losses from denitrification or leaching in some areas of western Canada. If water ponding or widespread flooding has occurred, it is wise to conduct a soil test prior to seeding. Recognize that most of the nitrogen required by a canola crop is taken up before the 6-leaf stage. Nutrients need to be available when the crop demands and there is only limited time for correction/top dressing later.
There may be a tendency to reduce fertilizer amounts applied in drier areas. A soil test should be conducted to determine what baseline levels exist and which nutrients may be cut back. If potash and phosphorous rates are being reduced, consider placing those nutrients near the seed to get the most efficient use of limited fertilizer dollars. Seed-placed phosphorous can provide a pop-up effect, especially under cool soil conditions. Potash has a very high salt index rating and seed-placed K should be kept to a minimum.
Avoid seedling damage from fertilizer burn. Do not exceed safe rates for seed placement or ensure adequate separation between seed and fertilizer, especially when handling blends containing urea N. Be diligent and check equipment openers for wear. Seed and fertilizer separation is especially important under dry soil conditions. The following links can provide more information:
Guidelines for Safely Applying Fertilizer with Seed
Toxicity of Seed-Placed Urea Increases Dramatically Under Dry Seedbed Conditions
Across western Canada producers began field operations (soil testing, harrowing, fertilizing, etc.) late last week and over the weekend. A limited number of acres have been seeded to date. Early seeding of cereals, peas, lentils and canola have been reported across the Prairies. Cool soil temperatures have been common with daytime soil temperatures in the neighborhood of five to seven degrees C in the warmest part of the day but dropping down to a range of zero to two degrees C at night.
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