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Up your canola planting population

Up your canola planting population

Five to seven plants per square foot is optimal, a BASF rep said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Changing the way growers seed canola could help achieve higher yields at harvest.

Typically, farmers might plant around five pounds of canola seed per acre. But scaling that planting population to the square foot could be beneficial, said Cory Ralph, technical service specialist with BASF.

“We’re trying to improve the yield, agronomic performance and consistency of the InVigor hybrid,” Ralph told Farms.com. “We’re shifting to a target planting population recommendation (of) five to seven plants per square foot.

“This recommendation is at the end of the season. So not your emergence count and not mid-season, but five to seven plants that are producing yield at the end of the year.”

BASF’s Product Excellence group, which is devoted to improving and maximizing InVigor hybrids, came up with the recommendation, Ralph said.

“If growers can target 10 seeds per square foot and hit 50 to 75 per cent survivability, they should be within the five to seven plants per square foot,” Ralph said.

The company is also changing its packaging to help growers meet those planting targets. Those changes will appear on InVigor seed bags in 2020, he added.

In addition, BASF ran trials on several of its InVigor canola hybrids and compared them to competitor hybrids.

The trials were based on swathing and straight cut harvest techniques, but field management is what set the trials apart, Ralph said.

“InVigor L252 definitely came out on top for the fifth year in a row in the swath protocol,” he said. “But one thing we’re proud of is how the (plots) are managed. We’re out there every five to seven days looking after these trials. At harvest time, we’re looking for the 60 per cent seed colour change and we bring a weigh wagon out to get an accurate yield and showcase our hybrids as best we can.”

BASF hybrids also yielded the highest in straight-cut trials.

“InVigor L233P did come out on top, edging out competitors as well as two of our hybrids,” Ralph said.

L23PP was “the number one hybrid sold in 2018 in InVigor and canola hybrids in general. It was our best-performing hybrid averaged out on locations across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.”

BASF will also run clubroot trials in 2019.

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