Canola council offers tips for better establishment

New video offers tips for seeding rate and depth, and other factors which produce an optimum stand

The Canola Council of Canada has a new video that describes key stand establishment steps using animated video and a question-and-answer format with growers.

The video describes how uniform stands of seven to 10 plants per square foot act as insurance, preserving yield potential in the face of early-season threats from frost, insects and seedling disease.

“Achieving this target stand often requires seeding rate adjustment based on seed size and soil conditions,” says Justine Cornelsen, agronomy specialist for the canola council.

Seed with higher thousand seed weights will have fewer seeds per pound, so heavier seed may have to be planted at higher pounds per acre to achieve the target stand. And if soil moisture conditions are favourable and seed survival is 80 per cent, canola will only need nine to 13 seeds per square foot to reach the target. However, if survival is 50 per cent, a minimum of 14 seeds per square foot are required.

The video also describes how seeding too fast for the drill or soil conditions can lead to uneven seed placement row to row. Drills tend to sacrifice precision placement when operated too fast, and back rows of openers will throw more soil over the front rows, creating uneven soil cover for each seed row. Uneven seed depth results in uneven emergence.

The YouTube video can be found by clicking here.

Other factors in stand establishment include straw and chaff management to create an even layer; seed depth of one-half to one inch for more rapid emergence; and more seedling vigour, and safe rates of seed-placed fertilizer. The definition of “safe” varies based on soil moisture and seedbed utilization, but the general recommendation is to apply no more than 20 pounds per acre of phosphate in the seed row and place all other fertilizer in a band away from the seed, said Cornelsen.

Plant establishment is one of the key components to boosting yields in the canola council’s strategic plan, which targets an average yield of 52 bushels per acre by 2025, up from the three-year average of around 34 bushels per acre. Improved plant establishment agronomy could add three bushels per acre. Improved fertility management is forecast to add another three bushels; with two bushels per acre each coming from advances in integrated pest management and harvest management; and eight from genetic improvement.

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