Getting a good stand is the first step for any winter canola producer, and goes a long way toward achieving the ultimate goal of having a successful crop, said Mike Stamm, K-State Research and Extension canola breeder.

Planting date, planting depth, and soil moisture are all important factors that can affect stand establishment of winter canola in Kansas. In general, it is best to plant canola six weeks before the average date of the first killing frost of 28 degrees in central and south central Kansas, or eight to ten weeks before for southwest Kansas, he said.

“Planting at about this time will allow for enough time for plants to have the right amount of growth for good winter survival and canopy development,” Stamm explained. “If winter canola is planted too late, you’ll likely end up with small plants that may not have enough food reserves to survive the winter well. If it is planted too early, you may end up with too much growth that can deplete soil moisture and nutrient reserves.”

Excessive growth also may elevate the growing point or crown, increasing the chance of winterkill. This can be a problem when heavy residue is left in the seed row without tillage.

If soils remain dry this fall, dryland producers should probably delay planting as long as possible until moisture conditions improve and soil temperatures cool, Stamm said. Producers should not wait too long, however.

“In central Kansas, winter canola should be planted by Sept. 25. In south central Kansas, winter canola should be planted no later than the last week of September. In southwest Kansas, winter canola should be planted by Sept. 10 at the latest to try to avoid winterkill problems. Irrigated producers should not delay their planting date beyond the optimum time because of unusually warm soil conditions,” the K-State plant breeder said.

Seed placement is critical for successful germination, emergence, and stand establishment.

“In general, you’ll get the best germination if you place seed one-half to one-inch deep. Under drier conditions, you may have to plant deeper to get to moisture, but don’t plant canola more than one-and-a-half inches deep,” he said. “If you have to plant it that deep, you can expect delayed emergence and reduced vigor. Also, soil crusting following a heavy rain can result in a poor stand.”