High yields could mean depleted soils

Peace field

If overall crop yields are 15-20% higher than average, as some forecast, then nutrient depletion is likely to be greater than normal. Standard fertilizer rates may need to be increased as a result, but soil testing will be necessary to confirm.

For canola going on 2013 cereal stubble: High cereal yields will leave nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur levels lower than usual. That will likely mean higher recommended fertilizer rates for 2014 canola, especially if growers plan on a repeat of 2013 yields.

For cereals going on 2013 canola stubble: Applying phosphorus and sulphur to cereal ground in 2014 will help maintain baseline levels so rates don’t have to be so high next time canola is produced on that field. This is especially important for these two nutrients as they are often seed placed. Excessive rates of seed placed P and S present a serious risk to canola seedlings.