June Seeded Canola – How to Reduce Maturity (but Not Sacrifice Yield)

Canola is an extremely adaptable crop that will still profit when seeded in June, but you need to work with what you have! 

Reduced Yield Potential – June seeded is lower yielding that May seeded canola, but the yields will still be there. Plan accordingly though, instead of the 45 bu/ac expectation, back it back 10% to 40 bu/ac and fertilize accordingly (if fertilizer is not already on)

 Table 1: Seeding Date and Yield Potential for Canola by Manitoba Region (MASC)

Seeding Date (week:month) %YIELD (Province) SW Central NW RRV

NE/SE

04:04 103 105 105 104 105 95
01:05 105 102 106 119 105 108
02:05 106 102 104 105 102 105
03:05 102 102 100 104 101 103
04:05 93 95 94 85 98 94
01:06 86 90 87 80 89 90
02:06 78 79 84 85 70 88
03:06 68 70 75 81 67 81

 

Faster Crop Development – Canola growth and development if based on Growing Degree Days (GDD).  Seeding in June means they add up faster, so May 5 seeded canola (with a cool May) may take 105 days to mature, but a June 5 seeded canola (with a normal June, July, August) could only take 95 days.  In 2014 we are seeing this.  Canola is emerging in 5 day, showing its first true leaf in 10 days and 2nd leaf in 14 days.  This is to our advantage!

Know When First Fall Frost Is – see http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/weather/agricultural-climate-of-mb.html.  Calculate for your area when the first fall frost is expected and backtrack to days needed for canola to get to 50-60% seed color change (about 80 – 85 days).

Use Agronomy to Reduce Maturity (and maintain yield):

These tips can help reduce maturity, they may not be exactly the day indicated, but they will help shave off a few days:

  • Seed shallow: if the moisture is there, target 1/2 inch vs. 1 inch, this can save 1 to 2 days
  • Increase seeding rate: more canola plants means more crop competition between plants, less branching and faster maturity.  The extra plants will make up the yield.  Bonus is flowering and swathing timing will be more even across the crop as well.  Increase seeding rate from 3 lbs to 5 lbs and save 1 day.
  • Put phosphate with the seed: Don’t skimp on this, especially if you know your fields are typically lacking.  Phosphate is important to the early root development and establishment of the plant which helps with maturity later on.  Add you phosphate and don’t go backwards in maturity to save 1 day
  • Add only the nitrogen you need: Excess nitrogen means excessive early vegetative growth which slows down the development of the crop.  Only add what you need and don’t go backwards in maturity or potentially save 1 day.
  • Switch your variety: This may be a no-brainer, but switch to what? See www.seedmb.ca, page 58 or paper guide page 58 to see what your options are.  Also talk to your retailer and seed dealers about what they have (or can get)

You can also give us a call at the Crops Knowledge Centre for more information 204-745-5663

 

Submitted by Anastasia Kubinec, MAFRD Oilseed Crop Specialist

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