How do your fields measure up? New Canola Counts tool helps growers assess and improve plant stands

May 17, 2021

Canola Council of Canada media release

May 17, 2021 – Canola Counts, the new crowd-sourced survey from the Canola Council of Canada (CCC), is now live through or directly accessible at The survey tool will map canola plant densities and emergence percentages while helping to drive the adoption of regular plant counts as an important step in achieving target yields.

“Many canola fields are still averaging 50 to 60 per cent emergence, which means that of every 10 seeds planted, four or five of them fail to emerge or contribute to yield,” says Autumn Barnes, agronomy specialist at the CCC. “Assessing plant stands in every field, every year will help farmers and agronomists identify challenges and implement changes to plant establishment practices to achieve the recommended target of five to eight plants per square foot.”

Research shows that stands of five to six plants per square foot yield about five bushels per acre more than stands that average two to three plants per square foot.

To use Canola Counts, growers or agronomists will first take multiple plant counts (see tips below) and then enter the average plant density for each field into the online survey. The survey input form will calculate emergence percentage, and the whole process can be done in-field in about 60 seconds. After submission, users will receive an immediate summary email as well as maps later in the season that can be used to compare their fields with regional norms. Summary data and maps are easily shareable with partners, clients or staff. For more information, watch a short how-to video.

Each field entered at is a chance to win weekly gift cards for spring or fall counts, as well as a prize for users who enter the most fields in each Prairie province.

Tips on taking plant counts: Once canola has fully emerged and is at the two- to four-leaf stage or greater (and again after harvest), growers or agronomists should walk fields and calculate the average plant density (plants per square foot) for each field using a hoop or a metre stick.

  • ¼ m2 hoop: a hoop with an inside diameter of 56 cm and circumference of 177 cm covers an area of one quarter of a square metre. Count the number of plants (not including volunteers) inside the hoop and multiply by four to get plants per square metre. Divide the plants per square metre by 10 to get plants per square foot.
  • 2 ft2 hoop: a hoop with an inside diameter of 49 cm and circumference of 153 cm covers an area of two square feet. Count the number of plants (excluding volunteers) inside the hoop and divide by two to get plants per square foot.
  • Metre stick: with a metre stick, count the seedlings per metre of row. Take that number and multiply by 100 then divide by the spacing between seed rows (in cm) to get plants per square metre. Divide by 10 to get plants per square foot.

Canola Counts was produced by the Canola Council of Canada with funding by Alberta Canola, SaskCanola and the Manitoba Canola Growers.

The Canola Council of Canada is a full value chain organization representing canola growers, processors, life science companies and exporters. Keep it Coming 2025 is the strategic plan to ensure the canola industry’s continued growth, demand, stability and success – achieving 52 bushels per acre to meet global market demand of 26 million metric tonnes by the year 2025.


Heidi Dancho
Director, Communications
[email protected]

The Alberta Canola Producers Commission is a farmer directed organization representing Alberta’s 14,000 canola growers and is a core funder of the Canola Council of Canada.

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