Canola crops with a good plant count and strong stand can get through a lot more than a field with a lower plant count. Crops that started out 2012 with borderline numbers fell below the critical 5 plants per square foot as stresses compounded. Canola needed 10 plants per square foot to deal with everything that came along in 2012 and still come through with a decent yield.
Many fields with low plant population would have benefited from another weed control application. Weedy fields with high dockage were more common this year.
Management for 2013: A stubble count this fall will determine how many plants made it through to harvest. If below 5 per square foot, take measures next spring to hit the target 7 to 14. Higher seeding rate may be required, but shallow seeding into warm moist soils, among other factors, do help to improve seedling survival.
Crop competition remains an important part of weed management. A crop that provides quicker ground cover is more competitive and may not require a second in-crop herbicide application.