Tips to increase seed survival

May 2, 2012 - Issue 10

Canola seeded at 1" (left) emerges faster and healthier than canola seeded at 3" deep (right).

The graphs below show the simple benefits of doing more to increase seed survival rates. At the same seeding rate of 5 lb./ac., for example, you achieve a lot more plants per square foot at 70% survival than you do at 40% survival. Here are some of the agronomic measures you can take to increase seedling survival:

1. Seed into warm soils. 10 C is ideal, but 5 C is a good starting point.
2. Use a seed treatment.
3. Seed shallow. Half an inch to one inch depth below the press wheel furrow is the recommended range for canola. Click here for how to check depth.
4. Seed slower to ensure good and even seed depth from all openers. At higher speeds, rear openers tend to throw more soil over the front rows, making some seed in some rows deeper (and slower to emerge, if at all) than others. Continually monitor seed depth as seeding progresses as well as check depth when moving from one field to the next.
5. Limit seed-placed fertilizer to safe rates for the soil and moisture conditions and for the seed-bed utilization.

If growers are unable to modify agronomic practices to increase survival rates, their only choice to achieve the minimum recommended 7 plants per square foot is to use a higher seeding rate.

Listen to ACPC radio on the topic of calculating seeding rates for canola.

Seed weight often printed on the bag or tag. Seed companies will often include the thousand kernel weight (TKW) on the seed bag or seed tag. If not, ask the retailer if the info is available, or do your own calculations.

TKW for some seed is attached to the blue tag. Look on the right.

TKW is printed right on the bag in this case.

Canola Watch