What to do with Canola Sowing? From Ben Curtis (Esperance Region)
I realise the dry start has not made seeding easy for many and many of you are considering what to do with canola sowing.
I thought it might be useful to share the graph below, about Bonito canola yield potential with sowing date.
We learnt in 2018 that late established canola doesn’t yield so well. You might say ‘big deal’. Even with the soft finish, on average canola did not perform anywhere near as well as wheat.
I guess the chances are low that we will again have as soft a finish as 2018. So, if you haven’t sown canola yet then it is worth considering your options.
- Depending on your position if the chances are that you won’t breakeven it might be worth considering switching out of canola and back into a cereal.
- If you have dry sown already, then there’s no need to ponder this and you can stop reading now.
So how do you work out if you will achieve a breakeven yield?
Most of you will have a breakeven yield chart within your review report (Farmanco review clients). To make an estimate of yield potential I would simply use the named locations (on the chart below) and estimate where your farm would fit within these. For the Esperance region, Salmon Gums, Gibson and Lake Grace are the most useful for us.
You should also check to see if the maximum yield potential at the peak of these curves, correlates to your farming operation. For example, for Salmon Gums in this graph the best potential yield is 1.5t/ha, sown early April. For Gibson, mid-April ,the best yield potential is 2.9t.
If your figures are better or worse than these, then adjust your estimate up or down. To do this:–
- look at your own yield history
- find the highest ever achieved yield
- divide this by the maximum in the graph; and then
- multiply this by the yield you determine for the sowing dates.
Phone me if I have confused you here – Ben Curtis 0400 975 537.
My thoughts are to hold off on dry sowing any more canola and to carry on as normal on cereals. I can’t think of a year when you would reduce your cereal program.
So, if you have the ability to dry sow (depending on soil and weeds) a good strategy is to get the cereals done and leave your canola paddocks until last. If it still hasn’t rained by then and you don’t believe canola would establish if sown before the date you calculate for canola to exceed breakeven yields using the data above, then consider switching to cereals in these paddocks.
If canola is being used not only as a rotational crop but as a necessary, weed management tool, then you might consider the benefit of this and be prepared to wear some level of loss. This being the case, you would push out your calculated last sowing date and make your decision then.