Plant establishment

  • Flea beetles: Why are some fields so bad in 2018?

    Plant establishment

    Early-seeded and slow-growing canola crops (usually due to dry conditions) have faced more flea beetle pressure this year, particularly in Manitoba and central Alberta. Flea beetle emergence tended to occur before most canola crops had emerged, so flea beetles concentrated on the earliest fields. And because topsoil moisture levels were fairly low, these canola plants were growing very slowly. Concentrated feeding and the plant’s inability to out-grow this feeding meant many crops were sprayed.

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  • Calculate seed survival

    Plant establishment

    As part of early-season scouting, assess plant density and percent emergence using the Canola Calculator plant survival calculator.

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  • Start scouting the week after seeding

    Plant establishment

    Start scouting around the time when emergence should occur. Normally by late May, warm soils, decent moisture and 1” seeding depth should produce emergence be about a week after seeding. However, dry conditions can delay emergence.

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  • Reseeding and dry conditions

    Plant establishment

    Wind losses, intense flea beetle feeding and slow emergence – each made worse by dry conditions – have some farmers wondering about reseeding. Keeping a thin stand is often the better option, but this article will help with the decision.

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  • How deep is too deep to seed canola?

    Plant establishment

    1.5” may be as deep as you want to go. If moisture is at 3”, for example, that is a long way for a small canola seedling to stretch.

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  • Questions about seeding into dry soils

    Plant establishment

    Should I seed now or wait for the moisture situation to improve?
    What seed-placed fertilizer rate is appropriate in dry conditions?
    Should I seed deep enough to reach moisture?

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  • Seeding speed: Every seeder, every field is different

    Plant establishment

    Each seeding tool has a different ideal speed for consistent placement. And soil type, residue cover and moisture will mean different ideal speeds from field to field and year to year. Every field could be handled differently to find a balance between placement and speed.

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  • Agronomy: Scouting with an open mind

    Plant establishment

    Crop scouting can begin the week after seeding to check on early emergence issues. The key with scouting at any crop stage and for any issue is to make a proper diagnosis before taking corrective action. Here are common early-season problems in canola and the set of symptoms often associated with each….

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  • How to increase canola seed survival rates

    Plant establishment

    Only about 60 percent of canola seeds survive to become plants, on average. With the following tips, canola farmers can increase seed survival and get more from their seed investment.

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  • Why wait to seed? Soil will only get warmer

    Plant establishment

    While warmer soil will speed up germination and will help with seed survival, canola seeded early May generally out-yields canola seed late May. If fields are dry enough to support the seeding tool and tractor, seeding can begin no matter the soil temperature today. If seedbed conditions are good and the forecast is dry, farmers may want to take advantage of a good situation for crop establishment.

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  • Moisture situation: How much snow-melt enters the soil?

    Plant establishment

    Farmers can count on 20-50% of the moisture from snow-melt to enter the soil. This variability depends a lot on surface soil moisture conditions. A North Dakota study (Willis and Haas) concluded that 50% of snow-melt moisture runs off or evaporates when surface soils (top 30-40 cm) are dry and up to 80% runs off when surface soils are wet.

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  • Enter seed size into canola calculator

    Plant establishment

    As you pick up canola seed, look at the thousand seed weight for each lot and run that through the seed rate calculator at canolacalculator.ca. This will indicate the seeding rate required to hit your target stand.

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  • Plant stand counts: WHY and HOW

    Plant establishment

    Counting stubble density in the fall can help growers determine if their spring seeding rate was adequate to reach the crop’s yield potential. Canola generally needs a bare minimum of 4-5 plants per square foot to reach its yield potential.

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  • How many canola plants are too many?

    Plant establishment

    In one case this year, a grower seeded 2.2-gram thousand seed weight (TSW) canola seed at 5 lb./ac. With very good seed survival due to warm, moist soils, the crop now has 20 plants per square foot. Is the intense competition between these crowded plants likely to result in lower yields?

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  • Plant counts at establishment: How often? Why?

    Plant establishment

    One plant count after emergence may not be enough to tell you about seed survival and whether the seeding rate and seeding tool did the job it was supposed to do. Seedling diseases, flea beetles, frost and other factors can influence seed survival, and unless scouting and counts are done repeatedly through the first few weeks after seeding, these influences may be missed and the seeding tool or other seedbed conditions may be unfairly blamed.

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