Seeding Depth – Michael Miller
Introduction: when taking your seeding depth into consideration it can help your down the road when it comes to controlling weeds. If you know your seed depth and your seeding instrument is accurate then it can help you when you have to till the field some way to control the fields. If your growing a crop that you can get away with seeding it a bit later you can delay the crop emergence. This is important because that will give more time for the fast emerging weed seeds to germinate and emerge; you can then till those weeds many different ways to remove them before your crop emerges. If you have a crop that cannot be seeded to deep such as canola then you can seed it shallow and then it can emerge quickly and try to out compete the germinating weed seedlings. This technique can obviously be used for any crops as long and producers understand germination times and depths and which the crops they select to grow can handle.
Fine Tuning: There are really no distinct conditions in which this technique works best, as factors would be different for different crops. If water is a limiting factor you may have no choice but to seed a crop deeper than wanted so that you can lay the seed in a moist seedbed.
Considerations: The only problem that you really can encounter with this weed control technique is that producers need to understand how each crop they are growing responds to seeding depth. Producers need to know this so that they do not seed anything to deep or to shallow and could cause emergence problems.
Costs: There are no real costs for adjusting seeding depth. The only thing that could be considered is that if you seed very deep to have a delayed emergence you could burn a bit more fuel if your seeding implement pulls harder.
Personal Opinions: We have used this technique of adjusting seeding depth on our farm to have delayed or quick emergences of our crops and I believe it is something that is very small but can have big benefits. If producers understand what they need they can see some good results from using this technique.
Integrated Weed Management Principles: Reducing the Risk of Crop Failure. Agriculture and Rural Development: Government of Alberta. June 25, 2004. http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex8712