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What You Need to Know About Seeding Depth

By Kaeley Kindrachuk, TechAg, Crops Extension Specialist, Outlook

April 2021

Tractor and machinery seeding a field
Seeding is underway in Saskatchewan.
Many issues can arise during the growing season that will hinder plant growth. In order to best prepare for those issues, producers must do what they can to help the growth and health of crops. Getting the crop off to the best start is one way to prepare. While there are many moving parts, it involves practices such as using sound seed and a seed treatment, planting into warm soils, using the right seeding rate and of course, seeding each crop type at the correct depth.

Planting at a consistent depth with proper seed-to-soil contact will increase quick, even and uniform germination. This increases the chances of even maturity later in the growing season, which will help with fungicide timing and harvest staging of the crop. While seeding into moisture is important, seeding too deep may result in uneven or reduced emergence, weak plants and, in some cases, increased seedling diseases. If the crop germinates slowly or unevenly, it will also be unable to compete with weeds in the field. 

Figure 1. Recommended Seeding Depths in Inches for Common Crops Grown in Saskatchewan

Crop Recommended Seeding Depth (inches)
Peas 1.2 - 3.2
Lentils 1 - 3
Chickpeas (Desi and Kabuli) 1.5 - 2.5
Faba Beans 2 - 3
Dry Beans 2 - 2.5
Soybeans 0.75 - 1.5
Canola 0.5 - 1
Flax 1 - 1.5
Mustard 0.5 - 1
Wheat 1.5 - 2.5
Winter Wheat 0.5 - 1
Barley 1.5 - 1.75
Oats 0.75 - 1.25
Corn 1.5 - 2

Before seeding, make sure that equipment is set properly for the crop being seeded. Each drill will require different settings and you will need to make sure you keep seeding speed consistent. Throughout seeding, ensure placement is checked regularly. Following the drill, use a seed depth tool to check consistency in a few rows. It does take more time to do this, but it will go a long way in increasing quick and even crop emergence.

Remember, seeding depth is only one part of getting the crop off on the right foot. Access more information on seeding rates, seeding dates and fertilizer rates and placement or visit our soils, fertility and nutrients page.

More information or seeding rates for minor crops can be found on commodity association websites, or by contacting your nearest crops extension specialist. 

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