Dry seedbed? Stick to <1” depth

May 11, 2016 - Issue 8

In dry soil conditions, growers may be tempted to seed deep enough to reach moisture. This is not necessary from April to mid-May. The common recommendation to seed no deeper than 1” still applies in dry conditions.

Aim for a seeding depth of less than 1". Credit: Justine Cornelsen

Aim for a seeding depth of less than 1″. Credit: Justine Cornelsen

Dry soil and wind — May 2016 from Canola Council of Canada on Vimeo.

Here’s why seeding at less than 1″ still applies:

—Through to mid-May, there is still time to wait for a rain to provide the moisture needed for germination and emergence. There is nothing to be gained from seeding deep in this situation.

—Going deeper to reach moisture may also mean cooler soil. Cool conditions combined with the extended distance seedlings must grow to reach the soil surface will mean higher seed and seedling mortality. Higher seeding rates will be needed to compensate.

—Deep seeding guarantees that some will go into secondary dormancy. Dormant seed will not germinate this year, and will add to the volunteer canola seed bank.

—Deep seeding allows weeds emerging at the same time to get ahead of the crop. Shallow seeding is a good integrated weed management technique.

Further reading:

Seeding in dry conditions
Dry soil: Seed now or wait?

Canola Watch