MADFIG Projects

GRDC Canola Establishment in the Low Rainfall Zones of the Western Region

MADFIG has collaborated with Living Farm for this project.

This investment aims to validate and extend previous agronomic and management research on how to successfully establish canola in the low rainfall zones of WA. Trials were conducted in Cunderdin, Merredin and Morawa in 2022. There will be eight Grower Groups, including MADFIG in the 2023 trials.


In a trial conducted in Merredin with the Merredin and Districts Farm Improvement
Group in 2022, the following key messages have been determined:

  1. Canola establishment was not significantly influenced by the presence or absence of SACOA SE14 soil wetter, seed size (mixed or >2mm) or seed type (hybrid or open pollinated).
  2. Canopy cover was generally greater for the hybrid canola in comparison to the
    open pollinated canola.

Discussion and Conclusions

Canola establishment did not statistically vary between treatments. Canopy cover was significantly greater for the hybrid canola in comparison to the open pollinated canola treatments, however, was not influenced by seed size or the presence of SE14 soil wetter. The results of this trial suggest, in a season that experiences higher than average rainfall, falling consistently over the growing season, such as in 2022, the application of SE14 soil wetter and the grading of seed did not improve canola establishment.

Large variation in establishment rate meant that no significant differences were observed between canola seed type (open pollinated or hybrid). However, the influence of canola type on canola establishment should be further investigated, particularly in a dry season.

June Update

The Trial was sown onthe 4th of April two days after a 30 mm rainfall event. The soil moisture was good and located approximately 10 mm below the surface.

For the Seeding Rate trial, the factors we are examining include:

  1. Seeding Rate (15 plants/m2 versus 25 plants/m2)
  2. Seeding Depth (1 cm or 3 cm)
  3. The addition or absence of soil Wetter

From the preliminary assessments, increasing the seeding rate improved canola establishment, while changing seeding depth and the addition or absence soil wetter did not significantly affect canola establishment.

In comparison, the factors investigated in the Time of Sowing Trial include:

  1. Time of Sowing
  2. Variety (Emu or 4022P)
  3. Seeding Depth

The first time of sowing also occurred on the 4th of April in the same conditions as above. The second time of sowing occurred on the 25th of April in drying conditions.

From the first assessments, the canola establishment of the first time of sowing treatments was greater than those sown at the second time of sowing. There also is evidence of varietal differences with Emu generally having greater establishment rates than the 4022P. Finally, seeding shallow did improve canola establishment for treatments sown in the first time of sowing, while in comparison the deeper sown treatments did marginally better for time of sowing two.

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