Precision planting in canola and lentil

Glenn McDonald1, Claire Browne2, Sarah Noack3, Stefan Schmitt4

1 School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, PMB 1 Glen Osmond SA, 5064, Email:,
2 Birchip Cropping Group, 73 Cumming Ave, Birchip, Victoria, 3483,
3 Hart Field Site Group, 155 Main North Road, Clare. SA 5453, 4Ag Consulting Co, 120 Long Road, Auburn SA, 5451


Recent surveys of canola and lentil crops in the southern and western regions have shown that crop establishment percentage can be low and variable. The speed and evenness of establishment influences interplant competition and sometimes yield.  Two experiments were conducted at Hart, South Australia and Birchip, Victoria to test the value of precision planting on crop establishment and yield.  Experiments compared a conventional plot seeder and a precision planter over six plant densities and in narrow (23 cm) and wide (30 cm) row spacings.  Crop establishment using a precision planter was similar to or worse than that with a conventional seeder.  Nevertheless, there was a significant improvement in lentil and canola yields at Hart with precision planting; no differences were evident at Birchip. Canola yield was more sensitive to plant density than lentil. Achieving an adequate plant population in canola (greater than 30-40 plants/m2) was more important to grain yield than in lentil.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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