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Optimizing seeding dates and rates for canola production in the humid eastern Canadian agroecosystems

Ma, B.L., H. Zhao, Z.M. Zheng, C. Caldwell, A. Mills, H. Earl, A. Vanasse, P. Scott, and D.L. Smith. 2016. Optimizing seeding dates and rates for canola production in the humid eastern Canadian agroecosystems. Agron. J. 108:1869-1879.

Abstract

Optimum seeding date (OSD) and seeding rate is an important management practice to improve the performance of canola (Brassica napus L.) production. A field study was conducted to investigate the influence of seeding date and rate on plant stand count, yield components, yield, and seed oil and protein concentrations, and to develop a location-sensitive model for estimating OSD for maximizing canola yield. The factorial experiment of three seeding dates (early, intermediate, and late) and three seeding rates (2.5, 5.0, and 7.5 kg ha-1) was carried out in 2011 and 2012 at seven locations across eastern Canada. An independent dataset from an additional 2-yr field experiment at the Ottawa site was used for model verification. Our data showed that seed yield, seed oil, and pod number per plant were significantly affected by seeding date and seeding rate. The greatest yield and seed oil concentration were obtained with the early seeding in most site-years. The OSD was a quadratic function of the long-term (30 years) average daily minimum air temperature (Tmin) in April and May with R2 = 0.98, P < 0.01 and s.e. = 2.6 days. Increasing seeding rate from 2.5 to 5.0 kg ha-1 increased seed yield for early-seeded canola in most site-years but the yield did not increase with further increases in seeding rate. Early seeding at 5.0 kg ha-1 is therefore recommended as the optimum seeding rate across eastern Canada.

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