MSU Extension Releases New Publication on Soil Nutrient Management for Canola


BOZEMAN – A new Montana State University Extension bulletin, Soil Nutrient Management for Canola, offers suggested soil nutrient management practices based on regional research.

The key to nutrient management for optimal canola yield is to select the right fertilizer source, the right rate, the right placement and the right timing for an operation, known as the “4R” concept, according to Clain Jones, co-author and Extension soil fertility specialist in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at Montana State University.

“These are usually interrelated,” Jones said. “For example, adequate sulfur early in the growing season is very important for canola. Elemental sulfur is the cheapest form, but it needs to be applied a couple of years before the canola rotation to be available when needed. A better in-season choice is ammonium sulfate, 21-0-0-24.”

In addition to sulfur, the bulletin also discusses nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients.

The need for nitrogen is highly dependent on yield potential, according to Jones. Spring soil tests for nitrogen and split applications increase the efficiency of nitrogen use by the crop and of dollars spent on nitrogen fertilizer. Phosphorus and potassium are best built up in the soil prior to the canola rotation, but a little dose of seed-placed phosphorus can get the canola seedlings off to a good start.

“Be aware, however, that canola can be easily damaged by seed-placed fertilizer,” Jones said.

The bulletin also provides photos to help identify nutrient deficiencies.

“Producers can't control the weather, but they can develop a solid yield target and fertility plan,” said Jones. “Getting the 4Rs, not only increases your bottom line, it also protects soil, water and air resources.”

The bulletin is available as printed copy from MSU Extension Publications at; by calling  (406) 994-3273; or online at the MSU Soil Fertility webpage,

The Soil Fertility website also hosts Soil Scoops, abridged versions of this and many other Extension bulletins. 

Source:  MSU News Service


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