Canola seedlings faces a host of enemies before they even see the light of day — seeds can get bashed around in the air seeder, plowed down too deep, hit by root rots or burned by seed-placed fertilizer. There are ways and means of minimizing the impact of each of these threats to your eventual canola plant stand, but some are easier to assess than others. For example, a careful scout will identify root rot and a handy sock test can alert you to unnecessary seed damage. But identifying how many seedlings you’re losing because of fertilizer toxicity can be tough; often, the only real symptom is that the seedling just isn’t there, because it was burned so soon after germination.
Back in the days when canola seed was super cheap, sacrificing a few germinating seeds to fertilizer burn was just the price you paid, knowingly or not, for the blend you put down with the seed. But canola is no longer cheap and an increasing interest in planters and the resulting wider rows has some farmers pushing fertilizer rates in-furrow. That could be spelling disaster, says Dan Orchard, agronomist specialist for Central Alberta North with the Canola Council of Canada.
In the Soundcloud interview below, Orchard explains how farmers may be breaking at least one if not two or more of the 4R rules of fertilizer management. (As a reminder, that’s right form, right placement, right rate, at the right time). Find out what his recommendation is for seed-placed fertilizer, how to gauge fertilizer burn losses and more.