Apply enough nitrogen

December 1, 2014

KEY PRACTICE: Use soil tests, ideally taken at consistent locations (GPS helps), and base rate decisions on soil test recommendations.

KEY RESEARCH: S.A. Brandt, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), et al.“Seeding rate, fertilizer level and disease management effects on hybrid versus open pollinated canola (Brassica napus L.)” Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 2007.

R.E. Blackshaw, AAFC, et al. “Canola response to ESN and Urea in a four-year no-till cropping system”, Agronomy Journal, 2011.


Nitrogen is the most common limiting nutrient for canola production. The challenge is to choose a nitrogen rate that balances the high yield potential of hybrid canola with the economic return from the extra pounds of nitrogen required to meet that potential. Applying enough fertilizer to meet the crop’s yield potential is not always the most economic decision.

The first step in making the decision is to understand how much nitrogen canola needs. The Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI) has a nutrient uptake and removal table (developed based on a culmination of science from the 1990s) that can be used to demonstrate typical nutrient needs. The CFI table says a 35 bu./ac. canola crop takes up 100 to 123 lb./ac. of nitrogen, or roughly 3 to 3.5 pounds for each bushel. A 50 bu./ac. crop would need 150 to 175 lb./ac. of available nitrogen.

Open the PDF to read the entire research summary from the 2014 Science Issue of Canola Digest

You can also read the 2014 Science Issue of Canola Digest as a flipbook

Visit the Canola Research Hub website to search the database of grower funded research

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