When is too late to seed canola?

Troy Prosofsky, CCC agronomy specialist in southern Alberta, is getting this question a lot. Southern Alberta often seeds canola about two weeks before everyone else on the Prairies, and by mid to late May growers are wondering whether to skip canola and plant barley instead. To answer the question whether it’s too late, consider the profit potential of the option crop. All crop yield potential drops with late seeding. Also consider local trends for first fall frost. And finally, check for crop insurance cutoff dates.

For background, click here to watch an the interview with Ross McKenzie on realagriculture.com. Lethbridge studies show that canola yield drops 1.7% per day for every day seeding is delayed after May 1, says McKenzie, agronomy specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. When conditions are right for seeding, “I’d probably seed canola first,” he says. “And seed shallow. Just scratch it in.”