July 19, 2017 Kris Cherewyk
Assisting Straight Cutting and Swathing Canola at Seeding
When it comes to harvest time, producers are always looking to increase both efficiency and yields. An increasing trend amongst canola growers in recent years has been the use of straight cutting technology to harvest their crops. New canola varieties with pod-shatter resistance, combined with improved technology in straight-cut headers has led to more acres being harvested in this fashion, as opposed to swathing first.
The advantages of straight cutting include; reduced costs by eliminating swathing, potentially higher yields, green seed reduction, and potentially higher oil content. Disadvantages include; longer maturity timing, potential combine wear due to increased green material, and possible weather damage of longer-standing plants.
It’s anyone’s guess what the weather will be like during the fall months; however, growers can help mitigate some of the risk at seeding time.
Seed Hawk technology is known for producing a quick, even-maturing crop with its precision seed-to-fertilizer placement. This has especially been the case in canola, as the plant is able to utilize nutrients that are accessible early to get a head start. An early jump in growth during the spring, combined with an early-maturing, pod-shatter resistant canola variety, will lead to early ripening in the fall. Be sure to check out local canola trials in your area to see which varieties are best suited for your farm. The earlier a crop matures; the shorter time is needed to be left standing to ensure harvestability. An evenly matured crop will also reduce the likelihood of pockets of green plant material, which can cause problems in the combine separator.
The even-maturing crops that Seed Hawk is known for is also critical when swathing canola. At often times a crop will be ripe enough to shell out on one part of the field, yet too green in another. Both cases result in yield loss when either seeds are shelled out, or are not mature enough to fully develop. If the crop matures at the same time and is swathed at the correct stage (60% color change), these losses are reduced, both in terms of yield and green counts when grading at the elevator.
It’s tough to think about harvest when crops are being planted, but the right tool for the job at seeding makes a big difference at the end of the year.
Photos courtesy of canolawatch.com, topcropmanager.com and agcanada.com
Harvest management via Canola Council of Canada: http://www.canolacouncil.org/canola-encyclopedia/managing-harvest/harvest-management/