Tilled vs. Direct Seeded Canola Trial
Purpose: There are numerous influences in determining an appropriate canola seed rate for a given field. The purpose of study was to gather information on how a pre-seed tillage application effects canola plant seed survival when using a SeedMaster seeding system. This study compares tilled corn stubble to direct seeded wheat stubble.
Location: SeedMaster operates a 2200 acre research and development farm located in SE Saskatchewan. The soil is classified as a Black Chernozem, clay loam. Topography is categorized as gently to moderately rolling. Organic matter ranges from 3.8 to 4.9% with a ph of 6.9 – 8.0 on average.
Methods: The SeedMaster Research Farm has access to a 100-15-SXX-20 with a tow behind 820bu NovaXP. It is a 100’ wide toolbar with 80 openers on 15” row spacing. The toolbar houses a front mount 20bu on-frame tank that features individual row metering (IRM) and UltraPro metering. The 820bu NovaXP is a tow behind air seeder comprising of 4 compartments. 3 – 260bu tanks and 1 – 40bu tank. A John Deere 9630 tractor is used to pull the implement. A Viper Pro monitor controls drill/tank function plus tractor guidance at RTK correction level.
Invigor L130 canola seed was used for the trial. The TKW of the seed was 4.83 grams. The canola seed was directed to the seed opener at the SeedMaster factory setting of 0.75” below the packed soil surface. Canola seed was metered from the on-board 20bu tank through the UltraPro meters at a rate of 3.5lbs/acre ($41.93/acre). Fan RPM was set to supply 9 ounces/sq. inch of air pressure for the duration of the trial as per SeedMaster Operators Manual.
All fertilizer requirements were directed, at the time of seeding, to the fertilizer knife at the SeedMaster factory setting of 0.75” below and 1.5” to the side of the seed. Granular fertilizer at a constant rate of 280 lbs/acre (96-33-0-15) was applied. Two of the 260 bushel NovaXP tanks were applying Urea at a rate of 90 lbs/acre and one 260 bushel NovaXP tank was applying MicroEssentials® S15™ (13-33-0-15) at a rate of 100 lbs/acre.
On May 27, 2014, the no-till wheat stubble portion was direct seeded at a speed of 5mph. It is the normal practice for the SeedMaster Research Farm to direct seed canola into standing wheat stubble. The wheat stubble consisted of 260 acres of a 360 acre field.
On May 28, 2014, a Salford 5100 vertical tillage machine was rented from a local source at a single day cost of $1653.75. The tillage machine was connected to the John Deere 9630 tractor and a single pass was made over the corn stubble. Approximately 4 – 6” of soil was displaced by the tool, leaving a black seed bed that comprised of loose soil mixed with short corn residue.
On May 29th, the tilled corn stubble portion was seeded to canola at an average speed of approximately 4.5mph. The normal seeding speed of 5mph was not able to be maintained. This was due to excessive tractor wheel slippage that resulted in slower ground speeds than desired. Normally, ample power and traction is available during the normal practice of direct seeding into standing stubble. Fortunately, the field is flat in nature and the trial was able to be completed in a timely manner, although at a slightly reduced speed.
The entire trial field received identical herbicide and fungicide in crop treatments through the growing season. On June 25, 2014, plant counts were conducted in each seed rate plot. Below is the data that was collected.
Conclusions: Growers need to make informed decisions about selecting an appropriate seed rate for canola. The days of just selecting a 5 lb/acre seed rate have passed. As canola seed prices surpass $12 per pound, growers need to take into consideration the following factors when selecting a seed rate:
SeedMaster has developed an app to assist growers in determining an appropriate seed rate so that they can more consistently achieve a desired plant population. For more information about the app, please see the following link http://www.seedmaster.ca/news/item/94-app
Future Considerations: The results of this trail are from one year only. The SeedMaster Research Farm will replicate this trial in the 2015 growing season.
SeedMaster Research farm will continue to target a canola plant population of 4.5 plants/sq.ft
These results will vary in subsequent trials depending on environmental conditions present throughout the growing season.
This trial needs be repeated in time and multiple locations across a broad geography.