Fields may have soil temperatures adequate for canola establishment and enough moisture for emergence, but should growers seed canola in early to mid-April?
Past experience would suggest that starting on peas and maybe some cereals in mid-April would be the preferred early-seeding choice, with canola going in late April and early May. Growers may see value in experimenting with one early-seeded canola field, but other crops tend to be better options for seeding in mid-April.
For any canola fields seeded on the early side, growers may want to consider a slightly higher seeding rate. Look at the target plant stand. Factor in lower seed survival and/or the extended emergence window with early seeding, and set a seeding rate accordingly.
Early seeding may work better in moisture-challenged parts of the Prairies, like in southern Alberta, where dry soils and warm and persistent winds are the norm.
There, early-seeded canola may go into more moisture than later-seeded canola. April seeding has shown benefits over May seeding in dry years in the brown soil zone of Alberta, according to the Alberta Agriculture yield results shown in the accompanying graph below.