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Sunflower & Canola Advice

Great Start for an Even Better Finish

These helpful tips will get you on the right track to reaching your yield and profit goals.
  SUNFLOWER TIPS 

PRE-PLANTING

Seed Selection
– Get familiar with the different sunflower markets: oil, confection and conoil.
– Markets play a central role in a producer’s hybrid choices. Producers must choose the sunflower hybrid for the market they wish to enter as well as the specific region where it will be planted.
– Your local Nuseed sales representatives are an excellent source of information and guidance: they know the hybrids they sell, the markets they can be used for and the regions they are suited for.

Confirm Seed Selection
– Before purchasing seed, confirm seed selection with the processor or contract.

Rotation
– Crop rotation plays a large role in the crop’s success.
– A minimum three-year rotation is recommended to reduce disease and weed pressure.
– For best results, rotate sunflowers with corn or cereals, and rotate out of canola, rapeseed, dry edible beans and soybeans, or other crops susceptible to the same diseases as sunflowers.

Fertilization
– After rotation, meeting the crop’s specific nutrition requirements is important.
– Fertilize for realistic targets based on geography, soil type and annual rainfall. Fertilization timing and method is based on farming practices and may vary from region to region.
– Soil analysis and a fertility management plan will identify a field’s nutrient needs. In some cases, over fertilization can do more harm than good. For example, too much nitrogen can decrease yields and cause lodging.
– Remember, fertilizer should never be placed in the seed furrow.

Seedbed
– Proper seedbed preparation is required prior to seeding sunflowers. Whether using conventional-till or no-till, an even seedbed promotes uniform germination and emergence, and good plant stand establishment.
– In no-till situations, maintain clean fields with good chemical control to get plants off to a strong start.
 

PLANTING 

Planter Maintenance
– Replace any broken or worn out parts annually. Focus on the in-furrow opening disc and seed tube wear that affect depth control.
– Check to be sure the seed metering device and seed tubes are capable of planting the larger confection planting seed.
– Use seed flow products, such as graphite or talcum powder, to mix with seed to improve seed flow. Recommendations vary by planter type, so refer to your operator’s manual for the appropriate seed flow product.

Seeding Rate
– Nuseed recommends specific seeding rates for each Nuseed product. Recommended seeding rates are based on commercial grain characteristics desired by specific end use markets.
– Actual seeding rates may need to be adjusted according to soil type and available moisture. For example, in geographies where available moisture is limited, the seeding rate should be reduced by as much as 20% to produce desirable commercial grain.

Seeding Depth
– Confection sunflower seed generally requires more available moisture to germinate and emerge than oilseed sunflower due to the larger, thicker shell. Nuseed recommends planting into adequate moisture. Confection sunflower should NEVER be planted deeper than 2 inches.

Planting Speed
– Slow down! The large size and light test weight make confection sunflower more challenging to plant. Slowing the planter down allows the seed metering device to work properly and more accurately. Each planter is different but a good general starting speed is 5 mph.

Seed Placement
– Singulation (having one seed per location) is very important. Having multiple seeds in a location will create competition between plants resulting in smaller commercial grain.

  CANOLA TIPS

PRE-PLANTING

Seed Selection
– Markets play a central role in a producer’s hybrid choices. Producers must choose the canola hybrid for the market they wish to enter as well as the specific region where it will be planted.
– Your local Nuseed sales representatives are an excellent source of information and guidance: they know the hybrids they sell, the markets they can be used for and the regions they are suited for.

Confirm Seed Selection
– Before purchasing seed, confirm seed selection with the processor or contract.

Rotation
– A three-year rotation is recommended to reduce disease and weed pressure.
– No single crop rotation will suit all circumstances. The choice of which crops to grow, and in what sequence, depends to a large extent on the soil and climatic conditions and management skills.

Fertilization
– Fertilize for realistic targets based on geography, soil type and annual rainfall. Fertilization timing and method is based on farming practices and may vary from region to region.
– Canola generally needs nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur fertilizer each year. A small percentage of fields will also benefit from a potassium application.

Seedbed
A good seedbed will:
– supply enough moisture for germination and seedling establishment
– provide adequate warmth and aeration
– have minimal physical resistance for the seedlings to emerge
– be relatively free of weeds and disease
– offer some resistance to erosion
 

PLANTING 

Germination/Emergence
– Factors such as soil moisture, soil temperature, fertilizer toxicity, seeding speed, seeding depth, seed placement, seed-topsoil contact, seed vigor, seedling disease and dormancy can affect germination and emergence.

Planter Maintenance
– For drills with independently mounted opener units: check that opener tips are in good shape, packer wheels are properly inflated, depth settings are the same for each unit, all tires are properly inflated, and frame height is in line with specifications in the operator’s manual.
– For drills with openers on a fixed frame: front-to-back and side-to-side leveling of the frame is key. Tire pressure, hydraulic cylinder seepage, inner wing down pressure, bent shanks, worn discs and inconsistencies in opener wear are also important inspection points.

Seeding Rate
– Seeding rates should be adequate to achieve 50-80 plants per square metre (approximately five to eight plants per square foot). Yield potential tends to drop off with fewer than 30-40 plants per square metre (three to four plants per square foot).
– Seeding rates should be adjusted based on target plant density (desired plants per square foot or per square metre) and thousand seed weight. This will ensure that target plant populations can be achieved.

Seeding Depth
– For seeding, use a tillage tool that can consistently place canola at a ½” to 1” depth, cutting through residue and placing seed into soil with proper coverage and adequate packing to ensure good seed-topsoil contact.

Planting Speed
– Each seeding tool has a different ideal speed for consistent placement. And soil type, residue cover and moisture will mean different ideal speeds from field to field and year to year. Every field could be handled differently to find a balance between placement and speed.