Earlier seeding generally increases yield

December 1, 2014

KEY PRACTICE: Crops seeded early (in late April or early May, depending on the region) will out-yield canola seeded in late May to early June most years. Not all years, but most years.

KEY RESEARCH: Angadi, S.V., Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), et al. “Early Seeding Improves the Sustainability of Canola and Mustard Production on the Canadian Semiarid Prairie.” Canadian Journal of Plant Science (2004).

Brandt, Stewart, AAFC, et al. “Evaluating the Agronomic and Economic Value of High Quality Canola Seed.” Canola Agronomic Research Program (CARP) (11-01-08).

Kirkland, Ken J., AAFC and Johnson, Eric N., AAFC. “Alternative Seeding Dates (Fall and April) Affect Brassica napus Canola Yield and Quality.” Canadian Journal of Plant Science (2000).

Capo-chichi, Ludovic J.A., Alberta Innovates, et al. “Assessment of Seed Germination and Seedling Performance of Spring Canola at Low Temperatures.” CARP (2011-7).


Early spring seeding typically benefits canola yield and quality. An early planting date enables the crop to take advantage of good spring moisture, avoid some heat stress at flowering, and reduce the risk of fall frost damage.

Generally, soil temperatures below 8 to 10°C result in progressively poorer germination and emergence. However, early seeding in late April or early May often provides yield benefits in spite of this — as long as an adequate plant population survives. Starting to seed when soil temperatures in the zone reach 5°C is a reasonable compromise, or even earlier if the forecast is for temperatures to rise the week following seeding.

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

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