Dry and late: An exception to the shallow seeding rule

In a situation where soils are dry in top 1-2” and seeding is delayed to late May or June, the shallow seeding recommendation for canola is up for debate. Seeding as deep as 2” to chase moisture may be preferable to leaving canola stranded in half an inch of dust. Seed placed deeper onto warm moist soil or just into moist soil, and then packed tightly to conserve that moisture may produce at least some plants, creating a thinner but earlier stand than shallow-seeded canola that is delayed until rains moisten the soil. Soil type is a factor in the decision. Hard pan soils may not close over the seed, and just dry out deeper. Dry and loose soils that favor heavy packing are preferred. The forecast is another factor. If rains are forecast, seed shallow.

Take care with seed-placed fertilizer. The plant doesn’t need any more stress, and dry conditions exacerbate fertilizer damage to seed and seedlings.