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Seed smart this spring

Recent research shows that uneven canola stands can cost as much as 21 percent in yield in comparison with an even plant stand. Uniform plant stands make the crop more competitive and simplifies pest and harvest management later in the season.

May 9, 2008  By Canola Council of Canada

May 9, 2008

Give canola
a fighting chance by seeding smart this spring. Careless or rushed seeding can
produce uneven crop stands, and that can cost big time, says Doug Moisey,
Canola Council agronomy specialist. 

research has shown that uneven stands averaging 4 plants/ft² could cost as much
as 21 percent in yield when compared to an even plant stand of 8 plants/ft² under
normal conditions. In uniform stands of 4 and 8 plants/ft², there was no
significant difference in yield, emphasizing the benefit of an even stand,
Moisey points out. 


Based on a
30 bu/ac average yield, a 20 percent loss is 6 bu/ac. At $12/bu, the cost of an uneven
plant stand can be more than $72/ac. Multiplied by 640 acres, that’s a
potential loss of over $46,000. 

Do it
right the first time

“We know
seeding early is good, but going into cold soils can put stress on germinating
seedlings,” says Moisey. “Ideal soil temperature is above 10 ºC at seeding
depth, but you can reasonably start seeding canola at 4-5 ºC.”

seeding canola into cool soil, keep these tips in mind:

  • Seed shallow (½ to ¾”).
  • Maintain a reasonable seeding
    rate as emergence may be variable in the field. Germination values don’t
    equate to emergence values in the field.
  • Place some phosphate fertilizer
    with the seed.
  • Seed slowly to ensure uniform
    seed distribution, depth, and proper fertilizer/seed separation in
    single-pass seeding systems. Check seeding depth periodically.

good, uniform plants stands is critical for canola,” says Moisey. “It will make
the crop more competitive, and uniform crop development simplifies pest and
harvest management later in the season.”

Ideal plant
population is 7-14 plants/ft². He recommends targeting 10 plants/ft²,
remembering that emergence is typically 50 percent in western
Canada (Hybrids can be 10 percent higher). Use
50-60 percent emergence when calculating seeding rates unless your own evidence has
established a different baseline level.


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