The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) has released a new seed cost feature for the Canola Calculator to help canola growers set seeding rates that balance agronomy and economics. Improvements in seeding and plant establishment are important to the industry’s strategic plan to sustainably and profitably increase average canola yields.
“The original tools at canolacalculator.ca helped growers improve plant establishment and profits by setting seeding rates and plant density targets that align with seed survival, seed size and risk factors such as frost and insect damage,” says Autumn Barnes, agronomy specialist and stand establishment lead with the CCC.
The new updates add seed cost to the equation. As growers enter different scenarios in the Seeding Rate & Seed Cost Calculator, they can see the economic impact of factors such as seed size, percent emergence and target plant density.
“The goal is to help growers and their advisors make more refined seeding decisions rather than defaulting to 5 lb./ac, regardless of seed size or field conditions,” says Barnes.
The CCC recommends a target plant density of 5-8 plants/ft2 (50-80 plants/m2). Growers can use the target density calculator to determine where in that range they want their individual fields to be, and then measure the economic impact of that density. Yield potential is known to decline with stands of four plants per square foot or less, and extra plants provide some buffer for in-season plant losses, optimum maturity and competition with weeds.
The new seed cost feature of the Canola Calculator was coordinated by the CCC, with funding provided by Alberta Canola, SaskCanola and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association.
In addition to the Canola Calculator, growers, agronomists and industry members are encouraged to visit CanolaEncyclopedia.ca for a comprehensive resource of best management practices based on the latest research findings. In the past, canola growers were advised to target plant densities of 7-10 plants/ft2 however emerging analysis indicates that plant densities of modern hybrid varieties are optimized at 5-8 plants/ft2. Recent updates to the plant establishment section include these new plant density recommendations and information on seeding rates.