Ten plants per square foot should be the plant stand target farmers aim for when they seed canola, says Derwyn Hammond of the Canola Council of Canada.
The recommendation is based on a seeding rate of six pounds per acre and the assumption that 70 per cent of the seed sown will survive. Then if the crop is stressed, say by a spring frost and only 40 per cent of the seed produces a plant, there will be 5.6 plants per square foot. That’s not ideal, but still better than reseeding.
What’s also important is stand uniformity, Hammond said. Trials show that in even stands where the plant population drops from seven to four plants per square foot, the yield stayed the same. But in fields where the stand was uneven, the yield dropped 20 per cent. And in uneven stands where the plant population dropped from seven to two, the yield was cut in half, Hammond said.
To drive home the message of shooting for 10 plants per square foot, the Canola Council of Canada is launching “Seed SMART.” SMART is the acronym for Slowdown when seeding Measure seeding depth, Aim for a uniform stand, Remember to keep a representative sample of your seed and Target 10 plants per square foot.