Get Your Oilseed Rape Crop Off to a Great Start

Sowing oilseed rape

Winter oilseed rape (WOSR) is a plant with a tap root system that requires certain management from sowing to harvest for good returns. This begins at sowing where seeding depth and placement are key to plant health and a uniform plant stand. 

Targets for WOSR Success

The key to good returns on your oilseed rape crop starts with sowing. The seeding depth and placement are key to plant health and a uniform plant stand.

  • Fast, even germination – target to have the field at the 8-leaf stage before it enters the vegetative rest stage 
  • Good tap root development – ideally 10 to 15 cm long 
  • Field plant density – preferably 25 to 35 plants/m2 
  • Rosette stage flattened to the ground  – before the beginning of winter 
  • In the spring, evaluate winter survival – WOSR has a high capacity to fill in available space

Sowing date  

There isn’t a perfect sowing date for WOSR. It’s a balance between a strong plant development before winter and avoiding dry conditions    

  • If possible sowing before a rain to take advantage of soil humidity  
  • Sowing too early can reduce the crop establishment quality (in dry conditions) 
  • Sowing too late can lead to insufficient plant development to survive pests attacks and before winter 

Sowing density  

It’s important to adapt your sowing density to your field’s conditions.     

  • Target a plant stand of between 20-40 plants/m2 after winter. This will require sowing at a rate of between 30-60 plants/m2    
  • Sow at a depth of 2 to 4 cm based on soil moisture 
  • Adjust your seeding density to your row spacing and seeding equipment (check the table below) 

Define the density based on the spacing between the rows

 Seeding tips

  • Respect the proper oilseed crop rotation – WOSR should only be sown every third year 
  • Ensure your seeding equipment is properly calibrated for the seed size 
  • Seed at a slow to moderate speed (max 7km/hr) – higher speeds can cause skips and uneven planting depths 
  • Choose fields with good soil structure – WOSR needs a good seedbed for proper rooting 
  • Seed into moist, warm soils – avoid late tillage before sowing 

More about oilseed rape

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