Nitrogen key to hybrid canola boost

11 Jul, 2018 04:00 AM

TRIALS conducted over the past two seasons have demonstrated the importance of early nitrogen applications to maximise yields from Pioneer brand canola hybrids.

South Australia area manager trial co-ordinator Paul Jenke said Pioneer canola hybrids had greater yield potential than was being realised by growers.

“The challenge we’ve seen with many hybrid crops is they are not reaching their full potential because of a lack of nutrition,” Mr Jenke said.

“We are consistently seeing hybrid canola crops showing symptoms of nitrogen deficiency; recent research has shown a need for 70 to 80 units of nitrogen for every expected tonne of yield, but many crops aren’t getting this.”

Over the past two seasons, Pioneer has undertaken trials to determine whether there were any economic benefits from increased applications of nitrogen at earlier than normal stages of the season.

“We conducted trials at Cummins on the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, in 2016 and 2017 and also at Tarlee in the lower mid-north region in 2017,” Mr Jenke said.

“Applications of nitrogen were applied at the two leaf (GS12) and eight leaf (GS18) stages.”

Mr Jenke said the early timing of the nitrogen applications was important to get the crop established strongly, setting it up for maximum potential yield.

In 2016 Pioneer hybrid 45Y91 CL was sown and in 2017 it was the Pioneer hybrid 44Y90 CL.

The results in all three trials demonstrated the role nitrogen had in helping farmers achieve the yield potential of Pioneer hybrid canola.

Mr Jenke said the Tarlee site last season had six treatments ranging from a strip which just had starter fertiliser at sowing, through to a strip that received 210 units of nitrogen per hectare at each of the two timings as well as fungicide applications.

“We also had strips that had two applications of 70 units per hectare of nitrogen (one with and one without fungicide) and strips that had two applications of 140 units per hectare of nitrogen (one with and one without fungicide),” he said.

“All plots were sown with an MAP product containing 12 units of nitrogen.

“The visual and yield response was amazing, even with high mineral nitrogen levels in the paddock prior to sowing.”

A yield of 2.72 tonnes per hectare was recorded from the strip that didn’t receive any post sowing fertiliser or fungicide.

In comparison, the strip with two applications of 210 units per hectare of nitrogen and two fungicide sprays yielded 4.73t/ha.

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