Increasing seeding opportunities by sowing canola from March

Ms Jackie Bucat1, Ms Stacey Power2, Mr Martin Harries3, Mr Andrew Blake3, Dr Imma Farre1

1DPIRD, South Perth, Australia,
2DPIRD, Northam, Australia,
3DPIRD, Geraldton, Australia

Many WA growers are considering planting canola earlier to take advantage of increasingly infrequent sowing opportunities and to fit in with cropping systems. How early is too early?

Eight large field trials with 4-5 sowing times (March 19-June 11) were established over low and medium rainfall sites in the WA Agricultural region over two seasons (2019-2020). Eight TT varieties were used, covering the early to mid-late range of maturity and both OP and hybrid types. Trials were irrigated pre-seeding to simulate early sowing opportunities.

Highest yields and gross margins were generated from the first two sowing times on March 19 and April 8. Contributing factors to high yields with early sowing are likely to be reduced heat stress during flowering and reduced drought stress during podding, compared with traditional (April 30) sowing. Risk factors included poor establishment, crop-survival, frost at the end of flowering, predation and disease.

March sowing is not better than April sowing, but may provide growers with more flexibility, as seeding opportunities become more irregular


Jackie is currently leading the DPIRD/GRDC project: Expanding the sowing window for canola  and lupin in WA

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