Planning: Seed considerations

December 9, 2016 - Issue 30

While placing canola seed orders, consider these questions:

How much seed do you need? Factor of target population, estimated seed survival, seed size and acres. What is the target? Five living and uniformly emerged plants per square foot should be the minimum. Below that, and yield potential drops. A target of 7 to 10 plants per square foot provides some room for plant loss due to a wide range of risk factors throughout the season as well as benefits for weed competition, crop maturity and fungicide and harvest staging. A winter project could be to go over past experiences, including harvest plant counts and yields, to set your own target.

What seed treatment to use? Choices are available that may improve protection from flea beetles and cutworms. Check with the seed provider, asking about product costs, then make a decision that will suit specific situations. If targeting hybrids or HT choices to specific field situations, remember that seed treatment choice could be part of that plan.

What varieties best suit my needs? When choosing, look at the herbicide system, disease-resistance package and harvest trait then look at the yield potential for variety that fit those first needs. Has the disease situation changed on your farm? Is clubroot resistance, for instance, something to consider. How about pod shatter resistance? When comparing yield, look at consistency over a range of growing conditions. Note varieties that yielded well in both 2015 and 2016 — years with considerably different growing conditions. Canola Performance Trials (see canolaperformancetrials.ca) are one source of third-party data on variety performance in 2016 with data also available for 2011 to 2015.

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