Spring conditions across the Prairies have been very good this year, and Dan Owen, agronomy manager with Hudye Soil Services in Norquay, Saskatchewan, has a few observations for those who are still putting crops in the ground.
“In the Norquay area, seeding is 75% to 90% done,” says Owen, adding that further south and west, where conditions have been a little wetter, seeding is about half done. That’s the pattern across most of the Prairies, so growers who still have some seeding to go can look north for some tips to help them finish off the early season in good form.
“Weed-wise, we’re seeing fields looking pretty clean if a pre-seed glyphosate treatment was done,” says Owen. “In fields where that wasn’t done, we’re seeing some weeds up and at the one-leaf stage already, wild oats, especially.” That pre-seed burn will buy some time for your crop, so get it done if you can.
Moisture and re-seeding
The end of May is crunch time for finishing seeding, but it’s good to err on the side of caution when it comes to moisture. “I’ve had a couple of issues here where growers have had to re-drill due to crusting,” says Owen. “The ground was maybe just too wet when the crop was seeded and the packers packed too hard.”
Check your drill
He has also seen a few situations where growers did not take the time to properly set their drills, or check them during seeding, and wound up with canola seed two inches deep. “That will take two weeks to come up, and by that time the seed energy and the seed treatment are both wearing off,” says Owen. The crop is left more susceptible to flea beetle damage and will likely require a $3 to $4 per acre insecticide spray. “It’s an expensive mistake to make,” he says. “I know it takes time, but it’s so important to check the drill as you go.”