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The first two weeks of May are the ideal time to seed canola, based on long-term yield results from the Prairies. This has been shown in Canola Council of Canada research as well as crop insurance results.
In areas with dry top soil conditions, growers often wonder whether to seed deeper to chase moisture. This approach differs based on the date and typical rainfall patterns.
Growers uncertain about which canola seeding rate to use should start with 5 lb./ac., then tweak.
Growers will learn a lot from two field checks during the first few weeks after emergence. Scout fields 5 to 10 days after seeding when canola starts to emerge, looking for early threats. Then go back again two to three weeks after seeding to assess the stand.
Early weeds have large impact on canola yield potential. Past research has demonstrated an advantage of 3 bu./ac. for controlling weeds at the 1-2 leaf stage of canola versus the 3-4 leaf stage, and a 7 bu./ac. advantage for the 1-2 leaf stage versus the 6-7 leaf stage.
Weed control timing has a huge influence on overall crop profit with no added cost.
The first few weeks of the growing season is a great time to police fields for suspicious weeds. Look for weeds that lived through the pre-seed burnoff or post-emergent sprays while others of the same species have died. These few weeds could be resistant to one or more herbicide groups, and it would be good to nab them early.
Diversification is at the root of prevention. To outsmart weeds, apply different products, use them at different times of the year, and rotate crops. Winter crops, for example, provide cover and competition in the fall and spring that annual spring crops cannot.
Canola growers have four good economic reasons to take the time and seed right:
1. Consistent canola seed placement at a uniform depth improves seed survival and the return on seed investment. Canola with 7 to 10 plants per square foot gives the crop a better chance to meet its yield potential.
2. A denser faster-canopying crop can eliminate the need for a second in-crop herbicide application.
3. A stand of 7 to 10 plants per square foot leaves growers a little leeway when it comes to disease and insect management decisions, knowing that losing a plant or two per square foot will not reduce yield potential.
4. A uniform plant stand of 7 to 10 plants per square foot can mature faster than a thinner stand, which will branch out more. The more branches, the longer it takes for all seeds to mature.
Canola Watch is a free, unbiased, timely and research focused weekly newsletter from the Canola Council of Canada Crop Production Team
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