The Right Plant Population

Low plant densities can cause yield loss and weed-control problems. Evaluations at Answer Plot®  Program trials have led us to recommend a seeding rate of 4 to 5 pounds per acre to establish 8 to 12 plants per square foot. However, the seeding rate should be increased under poor planting conditions.

Manage straw immediately after wheat harvest to improve seed-to-soil contact at planting time. Thick straw often increases crown height, which decreases winter survival. Vertical tillage, strip tillage and row crop planting equipment can improve plant mortality. Slower planting speeds can help you better manage planting depth. 

Tips On Canola Row Spacing

Proper row spacing and inter-plant spacing is important when planting canola. The most common spacing is 6 to 10 inches, whether with older drills or new air seeders. This provides the fastest ground cover, helping with weed control, and is often higher-yielding.

Another method is plugging every other row of the seeder, making 12- to 20-inch rows. This method can help increase stand establishment. In Answer Plot® Program trials, narrow-row to mid-row plantings of 7.5 to 15 inches have achieved the most optimal yields.

Using a planter and seeding in 30-inch rows — often used with row cleaners — is another option.
  • In heavy trash and no-till fields, this can mean the difference between achieving or not achieving a stand. With 30-inch rows, reducing the seeding rate to around 4 pounds per acre helps reduce seedling crowding and decreases crown height, improving survivability through the winter.
  • The downside of 30-inch rows is that there is often a noticeable yield reduction.

Three canola fields showing different row spacing from 7.5 inch to 15 inch and 30 inch rows