Canola Seed to Success in 4 Weeks

May 11, 2022

Canola Seed to Success in 4 Weeks

Submitted by Taralea Simpson P.Ag – Portage branch

The success of a canola stand depends on reaching the 3-4 leaf stage within 4 weeks of seeding.  It seems like a tall order, but your canola’s life depends on it.  With optimum growth, it can withstand some of the difficulties that may come its way, like flea beetles.
For this kind of growth to occur there are some things we can do to help it along:
Soil temperature:  It is true that studies have shown early seeded canola generally yields higher than later seeded canola.  However, we need to be reasonable.  A soil temperature of 10°C and a week of decent weather will help ensure germination and emergence occurs quickly.  Seeding when its cooler will increase the time to germination which reduces seedling survival and limits the protection of seed treatments.  So, if earlier seeding is on your radar bumping your seeding rate up a bit is a good idea.
Placement of the seed:  It is very important with canola to seed shallow and consistently at ½ inch to 1 inch seeding depth.  Be sure your soil conditions are good to go.  Try reducing the speed or at least try to find that perfect speed for your machine. Packing more if its dry or packing less if the soil is moist and prone to compacting and/or crusting which causes emergence issues. Also, check to be sure residue is not causing issues stranding your seed on the soil surface or reducing your seed to soil contact.
Seeding rate:  Ideally, we want 6 plants/ft² to make an optimal stand.  Remember, the earlier and cooler we go we need to build that into our seeding rate.  You can go to Canola Council of Canada website to find the seeding rate calculator.
Weed Control:  Early season weed control in the form of a pre-seed product reduce weed competition allowing you to maximize yield.  It may also delay seeding by a couple of days to allow the soil to warm up to a more desirable temperature. A win win!
Early season scouting:  As your canola plants begin to emerge throw out a plant count square and find out your live plants/ ft².  Watch for flea beetles starting on field edges, but don’t forget the center.  The last few years the flea beetle pressure has been high.  Also, if your canola does not come up within the first 10 days, remember the clock is ticking on your seed treatment for flea beetles.
Call your local Shur-Gro Agronomist to help scout your fields and decide the success of your canola stand.  Our job is to help decide if your stand is a good one, what the flea beetle pressure is like and if is it economical to remove the flea beetles as well as what product may work best.
If your stand made it to the 3-4 leaf stage in 4 weeks, it is quite likely it will compete against the flea beetles on its own!  Success!

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