Variability in soil properties and rainfall distribution is generally high in canola growing areas of Western Cape Province of South Africa. Rainfall intensity generally influences soil moisture levels and utilization of major nutrients like nitrogen (N) and sulphur (S) required to maximize canola growth and development. Hence this research was intended to determine effect of soil and climatic differences, as experienced at different localities on seedling establishment, dry matter production and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of canola in response to N and S application rates. Canola plant populations (plants m-2) were determined at 30 days after planting (DAP), while dry mass was recorded on plots of treatment combinations of S (0, 15 and 30 kg ha-1) and N (0 and 120 kg ha-1) during flowering (90 DAP) at Altona, Elsenburg, Langgewens, Roodebloem, and Welgevallen localities in Western Cape in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Plant populations, dry mass production and NUE differed between localities. N fertilisation increased plant biomass of canola at most localities in the three seasons whilst fertilisation with S resulted in increasing plant dry mass only in 2010. NUE as measured as gram dry matter gain per gram of N applied were affected by S at Altona in 2011.
Key words: Canola, seedling establishment, nitrogen use efficiency, sulphur.
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