Seeding Dates

Seeding early is important. A study done in Lethbridge on irrigation indicates that with all crops, there was a response to early seeding. Lethbridge is not Meadow Lake but the yeild numbers still apply here. With hard red spring wheat, the yield reduction was 0.9% per day for each day seeded after May 1. With canola, a yield reduction of 1.7% per day could be expected after May 1 seeding. We all know that seeding everything on the same day is not possible but we need to get things done as early as possible. Having a plan in place to be ready to seed is critical when obtaining high yields. In the next few weeks, the machinery will start coming out of the sheds. The repairs will be done. This is important. Machines must be calibrated and set so that the seeders can put the right amount of seed at the right depth. Each drill has specific items that need to be checked. Taking the time to do this before seeding will ensure that the limited time available at seeding time will be used to its best advantage. When it comes to the seed and fertilizer, it is important that a seeding plan is in place. All growers have a system that they used to get these products to the field. Look at the system that is used and see if there is anything that can be done to speed it up. Doing things a different way could provide time savings. The equipment required to do this must be ready to go. Seed must be purchased or cleaned. Seed treatments and fertilizer must be at home or ready to pick up. Having a plan on how to do all these things is essential to make sure that spring work moves along as quickly as possible. One thing that is different between here and Lethbridge is how quickly the soil warms up. Our soils warm up slower so starting seeding after May 1 is a good rule of thumb in the Meadow Lake area. Remember, soils that have less trash on the surface and have less frost at a lower depth will warm up quicker. Knowing what fields warm up first is essential when considering what fields to get on first. Moisture will be a problem in our fields this spring. We have a lot of snow that has to melt and move away. There are differences in the drainage in all the fields of the area. Starting on fields that have good surface as well as internal drainage will allow seeding to begin sooner. Anything that can be done to ensure that the water has every chance to run off must be done. Get ready to go on well drained fields first thing in the spring. Start seeding early. Being ready in the spring will allow earlier seeding. Earlier seeding will mean bigger crop yields and better quality because of reduced frost risk. Bigger yields and better quality means better dollars in the bank in the fall.