Irrigated Crop Recommendations

 
 
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 Fertilizer recommendations | Disease and insect seed treatment | Good seed | Determination of seeding rates

This publication provides general information on crop types for production under irrigation. Recommended varieties are listed for each crop, along with seeding rates and general fertilizer recommendations. With this information, producers can determine the variety and seeding rate for each irrigated crop.

Fertilizer Recommendations

General fertilizer recommendations are given for both nitrogen (N) and phosphate (P2O5). The lower value for applied nitrogen should be used when soil test nitrogen is high or when optimum irrigation cannot be maintained. The highest value for applied nitrogen should be used when soil test nitrogen is low. For greatest nitrogen efficiency, nitrogen fertilizer can be banded rather than broadcast and incorporated.

When soil test levels of phosphorus are high, only a small starter application of P2O5 is required. The higher value for applied phosphorus should be used when soil test phosphorus is low. Phosphorus is most effective for the majority of crops when banded near the seed or drilled in with the seed. Broadcast and incorporated applications should be at least twice the drill-in rates to be equally effective.

Normally, potassium (potash), sulphur and micronutrients are not required by most crops. When soil test levels of potassium (K) are less than 300 lb/ac, an application of potash fertilizer should be considered. When soil test levels of sulphur are less than 10 lb/ac, sulphur fertilizer applications could be considered. Normally, however, 
there is enough sulphur in irrigation water to meet crop requirements. Approximately 20 lb/ac of sulphur is added to soil with each 30 cm (12 inches) of irrigation water.

Response to micronutrient fertilizers is uncommon for most irrigated crops grown on most soils. The only exception is irrigated field beans, which occasionally will respond to applications of zinc. Deficiencies occur with dry beans when soils are wet and cold in spring. The micronutrient content of most soils in southern Alberta is sufficient to meet crop requirements.

For more detailed information, refer to the following Alberta Agriculture factsheets:

Disease and Insect Seed Treatment

Flax seed should be treated to control seedling blight. Canola seed should be treated to control flea beetles, seedling blight and the seed borne phase of blackleg. Cereal smuts can be controlled and root diseases suppressed with seed treatment fungicides. Corn should be treated to control seedling blight, root disease and wireworms.

Pea, bean, canola and sunflower crops grown under irrigation are highly susceptible to sclerotinia white mold. Proper water management, crop rotations and the use of appropriate fungicides will result in higher yields.

All wheat types are susceptible to Fusarium head blight, 
with high risk for continuous wheat or wheat after corn. Recommended control strategies include foliar fungicides and restricted irrigation during anthesis (flowering).

Good Seed

Costs of crop production are becoming extremely high: land use, machinery, fertilizers, chemicals and labor, so the cost of good quality seed is a most important production factor.

The only way to be absolutely sure of obtaining a particular variety is by the use of pedigreed seed. The certificate of analysis of each seed lot will indicate details of purity relative to other crop kinds and weed seeds.

Determination of Seeding Rates

Approximate seeding rates for grain, pulse and forage crops are provided in the following tables. After the crop variety is selected and a target seeding rate is determined, the seeding rate in pounds per acre must be determined. This can be done using the seeding rate calculators available on-line on Alberta Agriculture’s website.

The calculators are available at: Specific crop recommendations include:
Cereals - Table 1
Oilseeds - Table 2
Special crops - Table 3
Forages - Table 4
Pulses - Table 5

Table 1: Cereals
CropTypeYield PotentialVarietiesSeeding Rates General Fertilizer Recommendations1Approximate Growing Season Water Use4
N (lb/ac)P (lb of
P2O5/ac)
in.mm
Wheat Spring100 bu/acAC Barrie, 5602 HR, Superb, CDC Go, Prodigy, Somerset, CDC Abound, CDC Alsask, CDC Osler, Harvest, Journey105-130 lb/ac (25-30 seed/ft2) 50-14020-5018460
Durum110 bu/acAC Morse, AC Navigator, Commander120-150 lb/ac
(25-30 seed/ft2)
50-14020-5018460
Soft140 bu/acAC Andrew, AC Meena, Bhishaj, Sadash110-160 lb/ac
(25-30 seed/ft2)
50-14020-5019480
Winter120 bu/acAC Tempest, McClintock, Radiant105-130 lb/ac
(25-30 seed/ft2)
50-12020-50 (Fall applied)15380
Prairie spring120 bu/acAC Crystal, 5701PR Snowhite 476120-145 lb/ac
(25-30 seed/ft2)
50-14020-5019480
BarleyMaltAC Metcalfe, CDC Copeland90 - 130 lb/ac
(18- 25 seed/ft2)
35-11035-5018430 - 460
FeedXena, CDC Bold, Vivar, Kasota, Mahigan140 -170 lb/ac
(30 seed/ft2)
45-13020-5018460
Silage12 - 15 T/ac
(wet basis)
Xena, CDC Bold, Vivar, Kasota, Mahigan140 – 190 lb/ac
(30-35 seed/ft2)
50-13020-50 17430
Oats Grain130 -140 bu/acAC Mustang, Cascade120-130 lb/ac50-13020-5017430
Silage12 - 15 T/
(wet basis)
AC Mustang, Cascade120-130 lb/ac
(25-30 seed/ft2)
50-13020-5016410
Spring TriticaleGrain or silage120 bu/ac or
12 - 15 T/ac
Pronghorn, AC Alta,
AC Ultima
160 -190 lb/ac
(35 seed/ft2)
50 - 14020-5018-19460 - 480
Winter TriticaleSilage100 - 120 lb/ac Bobcat160 -190 lb/ac
(35 seed/ft2)
50 - 12020-5015380
Cereals for PastureBarley2.5 AUM/acTukwa100 lb/ac35-8020-5015380

Table 2: Oilseeds
CropTypeYield PotentialVarietiesSeeding Rates General Fertilizer Recommendations1Approximate Growing Season Water Use4
N (lb/ac)P (lb of
P2O5/ac)
in.mm
CanolaArgentine65-80 bu/acRefer to most recent Varieties of Cereals and Oilseed Crops for Alberta, Agdex 100/326-9 lb/ac35-14020-5019480
Flax50-65 bu/acFlanders, CDC Bethune, CDC Sorrel, Prairie Thunder30-40 lb/ac20-10015-4016410
Safflower 3 Birdseed2,500 lb/acSaffire30-50 lb/ac35-9025-5017430
Birdseed/Oil2,800 lb/acAC Stirling, AC Sunset
Mustard Yellow3,000 - 3,600 lb/acAC Pennant, AC Base, Andante10-12 lb/ac35-11020-5018-19460-480
Brown3,000 - 3,600 lb/acCommon Brown, Duchess7-10 lb/ac35-11020-5018-19460-480
Oriental3,000 - 3,600 lb/acCutlass, Forge, Ac Vulcan7-10 lb/ac35-11020-5018-19460-480

Table 3: Special Crops
CropTypeYield PotentialVarietiesSeeding Rates General Fertilizer Recommendations1Approximate Growing Season Water Use4
N (lb/ac)P (lb of
P2O5/ac)
in.mm
PotatoesFrench Fry18-22 T/ac Use varieties recommended by contracting companiesFollow contracting company recommendations120-20075-15022560
Chipping15 T/acUse varieties recommended by contracting companiesFollow contracting company recommendations
Table18 T/acUse varieties recommended by contracting companySeed pieces 2 oz. 36 in. spacing between rows, 6-12 in. within rows. Use within row spacing recommended by contracting company
Sugar Beets25 T/acUse varieties supplied by contracting company. Order seed early.1.1 lb/ac; 6 inches between plants; 22 inches between rows80-14030-6522560
CornSilage18-23 T/ac
(wet basis)
See Corn Committee Recommendations at: www.albertacorn.com30,000-33,000 plants/ac80-20045-6020510
Grain120 bu/acSee Corn Committee Recommendations at: www.albertacorn.com23,000-25,000 plants/ac

Table 4: Forages
CropTypeYield PotentialVarietiesSeeding Rates General Fertilizer Recommendations1Approximate Growing Season Water Use4
N (lb/ac)P (lb of
P2O5/ac)
in.mm
Smooth Brome Grass4-6 T/acCarlton, AC Rocket, Radisson, BravoRefer to Varieties of Perennial Hay and Pasture Crops for Alberta 2008, Agdex 120/32For pasture up to 200 lb/ac in 4-5 split applications

For hay 100 lb/ac in spring, 80 after each cut
30-40 lb/ac spring broadcast22-24560-610
Meadow Brome Grass4-6 T/acFleet, Montana, Paddock
Orchard Grass4-6 T/acKay, Arctic
Timothy4-5 T/acClimax, Express, Champ, Climax, Colt, Grinstad, Hokuo, Richmond
Reed Canarygrass4-6 T/acRival, Venture, Palaton, Bellevue
Pubescent wheatgrass4-6 T/acGreenleaf, Chief, Clarke
Grass and LegumeAll grass types4-6 T/acWith 20 to 40% legumeRefer to Varieties of Varieties of Perennial Hay and Pasture Crops for Alberta 2008, Agdex 120/3230-60
Grass and LegumeAll grass types4-7 T/acWith 40 to 60% legumeRefer to Varieties of Perennial Hay and Pasture Crops for Alberta 2008, Agdex 120/3210-3530-60
Canary-seed 2,400 lb/acKeet, Elias27-40 lb/ac30-8020-5018460
Sainfoin 3-4 T/acNova35 lb/ac0-30 inoculate with F inoculate (Nitagin Co.)50 annually or 100-150 when estab- lishing stand20510
Alfalfa ForageRefer to most recent Varieties of Perennial Hay and Pasture Crops for Alberta 2008, Agdex 120/3210-12 lb/acNo N fertilizer required. Inoculate with Rhizobium meltoti250 annually or 100-150 when estab- lishing stand26680
SeedUse varieties where market demand is high2-4 lb/ac0-30 and inoculate with Rhizobia meltoti230-50 annually or 100-150 when estab- lishing stand20510

Table 5: Pulses
CropTypeYield PotentialVarietiesSeeding Rates General Fertilizer Recommendations1Approximate Growing Season Water Use4
N (lb/ac)P (lb of
P2O5/ac)
in.mm
Fababean3,500-5,000 lb/acSnowbird (low tanin)175-220 lb/ac 0-40 and Inoculate with Rhizobia leguminosarum2
Q culture
30-6022-560
Dry Beans Pinto2,400-2,700 lb/acOthello, AC Agrinto, AC Island, CDC Minto60-110 lb/acRefer to Dry Bean Nutrient Requirements in Southern Alberta, Agdex 142/532-130-40 lb of
P2O5/ac Zinc application may be necessary when soil test is low or P2O5 application is high
15-380
Small redAC Redbond
PinkViva, AC Early Rose
Great NorthernAC Resolute
BlackAC Diamond
NavyAC Skipper
PeaField (dry)3,500 - 4000 lb/acYellow: Reward, Eclipse, SW Marquee, CDC Bronco, Cultass, Caneval Green: SW Parade, Cooper135-200 lb/ac (9 seeds/ft)for all types 0-20 lb N/ac and proper seed inoculation with Rhizobia leguminosarum225-40 for all types16410
Process- ing Pea2-3 T/acVarieties supplied by contracting company12 seeds/ft214-15350-380

For more detailed information, see the following factsheets:
Varieties of Cereal and Oilseed Crops for Alberta
Varieties of Perennial Hay and Pasture Crops for Alberta 2008

Prepared By
Dr. Ross McKenzie
Agronomy Research Scientist,
Lethbridge, AB
Telephone: 403-381-5842

Rob Dunn
Cropping Systems Specialis
Lethbridge, AB
Telephone: 403-381-5904

1 Fertilizer recommendations are general. Soil testing is necessary to determine exact fertilizer requirements.

2 Fertilizer application rates are based on inoculation with specific rhizobia bacteria to obtain nitrogen fixation. An appropriate sticker should be used to obtain proper seed/inoculant contact. Soils with residual N levels exceeding 40-50 lb/ac may not respond to inoculation.

3 These crops can be adversely affected by intensive irrigation. Overwatering of these crops can lead to increased disease pressure and delayed maturity.

4 Irrigation requirement = crop water requirement - (Growing season precipitation and available soil moisture).

NOTE: To simplify information, trade names of some products have been used. No endorsement of these products is intended nor is any criticism implied of similar products that are not mentioned.

Source: Agdex 100/32-1 Revised July 2008.

 
 
 
 
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This information published to the web on January 1, 1997.
Last Reviewed/Revised on July 1, 2008.