Chloride applications possibly help canaryseed

Canaryseed yields depend on the season, and to a lesser degree on what producers put into the soil along with it.

On-going research about chloride applications ahead of canaryseed is showing that if the soil is truly deficient, there is a good chance of a response to smaller amounts of the element, usually delivered as potash, which is 60 percent potassium and 40 percent chloride.

“About (40 pounds per acre) will ensure you have lots of chloride, even in a rainy year,” Agriculture Canada researcher Bill May said about some work being done in Indian Head, Sask., in partnership with the Canaryseed Development Commission and Saskatchewan Agriculture.

Being mobile in the soil, the nutrient can be applied to hilltops where it might be lacking and allowed to follow the moisture to the rest of a rolling field. However, May said it would be simplest to just broadcast it to the entire field to ensure that all areas are covered.

“It is pretty low-cost, so if you need it, it might make sense to apply it over the whole field,” he said.

“If your soil is short of zinc and other nutrients, then it will likely respond (to potassium applications),” he said.

He told producers attending the producer group’s annual meeting in Saskatoon during Crop Week that it has something to do with seed fill and needs to be sufficient for that, but beyond that it doesn’t appear to respond to additional amounts being available.

Nitrogen and zinc didn’t fare much better. In trials, out of 19 site years, nitrogen applied at 15, 30, 60 and 90 kilograms per hectare, about the same in pounds per acre, showed typically three or four out of 19 responses with eight out of 19 at the 30 kg rate.

Chloride was seven out of 19, phosphate one or two out of 19 and zinc one out of 19 of the locations.

Once minimum sufficiencies were found, yields could be improved in some cases of as much as 100 pounds of canaryseed per acre, but that wasn’t consistent and much lower gains were common.

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