Seed shallow for faster emergence


For all canola, whether seeded early or late, growers want to make sure they seed shallow — less than 1” deep — for faster and more uniform emergence.

Seed placed too deep takes longer to emerge and, since it used a lot of its energy reserves just to reach the soil surface, tends to be less vigorous once it gets there. In the photo, the seedlings on the right were seeded at 3” deep. Those on the left were seeded at the correct depth.

To check seeding depth, get a simple seed depth tool and follow these steps:

Step 1. Start about 150 feet behind where you stopped the seeder or walk over to the previously seeded pass. You want to check seed depth where the drill would have been moving at full speed. That way the seed measurement will accurately reflect what the drill is doing.

Step 2. Use the seed depth tool to slowly scrape away soil until you reach the bottom of the seed row furrow or where the opener normally places the seed.

Step 3. Find the seed. Make sure it’s being placed at the bottom of the seed furrow. If it’s bouncing out, the operator may have to slow the fan speed or slow the seeding speed to place seed where it should be.

Step 4. Rest the tip of the seed depth tool at the place you found the seed. Eyeball the depth of soil directly over the area you found the seed. For canola, research shows that you’ll get faster emergence and higher seedling survival when seed has 0.5 to 1 inch of soil over top.

Step 5. Check a number of rows. Make sure the drill achieves the same depth across its whole width and front to back.