The canola seed reps tell me that they plan on, and usually get a 60% survival with an air drill. I'm not totally sure why this is. Some claim it comes from damage in the distributor manifolds. Maybe the meters crush some. We try to run the least amount of air we can get away with. Leads to some interesting baffling on a Flexi-coil, where we're trying to put down 280#/ac product in the side band, and 4#/ac in the seed row. But it works. I'm not sure if our survival rate is greater than 60%. I'm very curious to know, so I'll ask the agronomist to count our plants when they emerge. With a planter, the seed rep tells me survival rate is nearly 100%. This is under irrigation. A lot of guys are still using box drills for seed canola, because it makes it easy to do male and female bays. I'm not sure how mortality compares with the planter, but I imagine a box drill won't damage too many seeds. Our canola yields are as high as they ever were now with our air drill vs when we used to use a box drill.
Anyway, around here in the irrigated area of southern Alberta, much of the canola acres goes to seed production, and the seed companies are putting some pressure on farmers to move to planters. Many guys are already doing this. The seed rate is reduced because the agronomist can get the exact plant count he wants. The wider spacing seems to grant more space for the bees to pollinate. Also there's an opportunity for tillage to help reduce contamination from volunteers. Despite the lower seeding rate, yields are slightly better on the row crop. All of these growers are broadcasting fertilizer and incorporating it with a cultivator or high speed disk.
This year we've got an air drill -seeded field not far from a row-crop planted field of the same variety. So it will be interesting to compare the results. Both in terms of final yield, but also in terms of plant count and mortality rate. The farmer who has the row-crop field has always used a box drill in the past.
Last edited by torriem; 05-27-2018 at 07:49 PM.