How to Calculate the Right Seeding Rate for InVigor® Canola

When you hear the term Target Plant Population, what do you think of? I would say that most farmers think corn, soybeans, pinto beans, etc. But do growers think in terms of Target Plant Population when they are dealing with canola?

In the past, most farmers have followed the traditional practice of seeding 5 pounds per acre and regarded strong emergence as the primary indicator of how well their canola crop would perform. However, this approach overlooked the adverse effects of intra-crop competition (over-population) and ensuring that you’re maximizing available resources such as sunlight, moisture and space within the bed.

Avoid overpopulation to support robust plants

Questions such as, “What should the Target Plant Population be for canola?” led Bayer to develop the Product Excellence Team. This group focuses entirely on the agronomy of InVigor® hybrids. Across Western Canada and North Dakota, the team conducts large-scale, replicated field trials with rigorous trial protocols in plots that are 15 times larger than those used by traditional breeding programs.

What does this mean for you? The Product Excellence Team produces data that reflects on-farm conditions for northern canola growers fairly and accurately in order to help maximize the performance of your InVigor hybrids.

Attaining the Ideal Canola Seeding Rate to Help You Achieve Optimal Plant Population

Extensive research trials conducted by the Product Excellence Team showed that a Target Plant Population of 5 to 7 plants/sq. ft. can maximize your yield results for InVigor canola hybrids. The team’s research shows that in most circumstances, planting 10 seeds/sq. ft. with an average survivability of 50-70% will help you meet this Target Plant Population of 5 to 7 plants/sq. ft.

When the team looked at canola seeding rates above and below 10 seeds/sq. ft., they found many problems.

Problems with High Plant Populations Problems with Low Plant Populations
  • Taller, thinner canola plants that are less productive
  • Weed escapes due to open crop canopy
  • Higher mortality rate due to intra-crop competition
  • Increased weed competition due to abundance of space and resources
  • Reduced yield potential due to intra-crop competition
  • Inefficient use of resources, such as nutrients, moisture and space in seedbed
  • Higher susceptibility to lodging
  • Larger plants that can often delay flowering
  • Greater risk for disease incidence with sclerotinia
  • Uneven maturity, which makes it difficult to stage for fungicide applications, swathing and harvest
  • Less resilience to heat stress and low moisture
  • No room for plant loss throughout the season

Understanding Your Farm’s Conditions

With this in mind, we have four tips to help you to obtain the Target Plant Population of 5 to 7 plants/sq. ft.:

  1. Check your seed tag and make sure you know the seeds per lb. of your InVigor hybrid(s).

    Find seeds per lb on the seed tag

  2. Conduct plant counts after you swath or harvest to understand survivability on your farm.

    Formula to assess survivability on your farm with plant counts after swath or harvest

  3. Calibrate your drill for each seed lot to reflect seed size difference (seeds/lb.), your desired plant stand, and your expected survivability in order to achieve 5-7 plants per sq. ft.

    Formula for seeding rate to calibrate your drill for each seed lot to achieve 5 to 7 plants per square foot

    For example: Your seed lot is 85,000 seeds/lb, you’d like 6 plants/sq. ft, and your average survivability is 65%. ((6 x 43,560)/.65)/85,000 = 4.7 lb./ac. seeding rate

  4. If you are unsure of your survivability, seeding 10 seeds/sq. ft. will in most cases result in achieving 5-7 plants/sq. ft. with an average survivability of 50-70%.

No two fields are the same. Because of your specific environmental factors, field conditions and/or farming practices, fine-tuning your canola seeding rates based on your particular situation can lead to even better results with your InVigor canola hybrids. Diligent record keeping, monitoring the survivability of your fields, and making adjustments for abiotic and biotic factors when required could further maximize the performance of your InVigor canola seed.

Factors that affect plant survivability when planning seeding rate

Adjusting your canola seeding rates to reach a targeted plant population of 5 to 7 plants/sq. ft. is a great way to get the most out of your InVigor canola. For more information or resources, contact your Bayer Sales Representative.

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