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Seed shallower thanks to the rain?

Seed shallower thanks to the rain?

Recent rain in most growing regions means improved seedbed conditions, though most fields would benefit from still more precipitation. How can one best capitalize on the added moisture? When seedbed conditions allow, decreasing seeding depth from one inch to half an inch can help with faster and better crop emergence and establishment. Good seed-to-soil contact is critical. Keep a close eye on packing pressure, especially if there is trash in the field or the top layer of soil is loose. The goal is 5-8 plants per square foot, which could mean reducing seeding rate if seeds are planted shallow and into warm soil with good moisture. (Principles of good seed placement) (Prep the seeder for consistent seed depth)

What insects are already crawling / wriggling / flying in fields?

Flea beetles are at low numbers but already present in some fields. The Spiritwood, SK area has very high numbers reported in volunteer canola. Be vigilant as warming temperatures will get populations moving: a little feeding in cooler weather can rapidly become a damaging level of feeding in warmer conditions. Strong, fast stand establishment is key to helping mitigate issues with canola’s number one insect pest. (Flea beetles: management tips)

Cutworms are being reported in multiple regions. Saskatchewan’s provincial entomologist, James Tansey, says moderate numbers of adult diamondback moth (DBM) are being caught in Saskatchewan, both a little earlier and a little higher in numbers than last year. SaskAg posts weekly updates of DBM catches to their webpage. DBM larvae can eat seedling canola. An upgraded Group 28 seed treatment insecticide (designed for cutworms) could offer some protection from early DBM. Scout. Read and follow label instructions, watching for items like temperature recommendations for Group 3 pyrethroids.

How to choose fertilizer rate with changing soil moisture?

The growing season is off to a positive start thanks to recent precipitation in many regions. Check: how much moisture is actually available in the seed bed? Where soil has been moisture depleted through the fall and winter, more precipitation is still required to optimize potential. Set “realistically optimistic” yield targets.  There may be opportunity to bump up crop nutrition rates at seeding where the soil conditions favour a strong crop. Ensure seed placed fertilizer stays within safe seed placed fertilizer rates. Fertilizer sources such as polymer coated urea and products with a low salt index will also impact safe seed placed rates. (How much fertilizer does canola need?)

What are the best and easiest ways to win at early season weed management?

  • Scout.
  • Tank mix 100% of the time. Make sure the tank mix partner is effective against your target weeds. (How to contain herbicide resistant kochia)
  • Manage weeds as early as possible. Ideally spray ahead of seeding, following these tips for best results. While Roundup Ready and TruFlex systems do offer some timing flexibility, a pre-burn allows the crop a clean, strong start; stops weeds from stealing precious soil moisture; optimizes weed control and offers additional modes of action as tank mix partners.
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