September 4, 2014 – Issue 22

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  • Four the week

    It’s complicated. We’ve said over and over to swath when the main stem reaches 60% seed colour change, and when seeds on side branches are “firm to roll” as shown in the video above. But the decision when to swath is often much more difficult — especially with the advancing calendar, disease pressure and lodging.

    Straight goods. Straight combining canola is a viable option on many farms, and more growers seem willing to give it a try. The best most uniform fields provide the greatest chance for success.

    One man’s treasure… Effective and sustainable zero tillage and direct seeding systems depend on good residue spreading in the fall. Without that, seed placement becomes a challenge and residue becomes “trash” all over again.

    Think ahead. Fall isn’t just about harvest. It’s also about gathering information and prepping fields to increase the odds of success next year. See our top 10 considerations.

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  • Map of the week

    September 4 map small

    This map from Weatherfarm shows the lows for yesterday. Click here for an online and larger version of the map. Not many areas received frost yesterday, and forecast lows are not showing a widespread frost risk until at least the middle of next week.

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  • September 4 Quiz

    combine canola smalll

    It pays to know how much canola your combine is throwing over. Test your harvest loss management skills…

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  • Swath timing issues — this week

    Lodged canola.

    The ideal swath timing is when 60% of seeds on the main stem are showing some colour change from green to brown. However, various factors complicate the swath timing decision, including frost and uneven crops due to hail. A few other scenarios surfaced this week, including late starts, disease and lodging (shown above).

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  • Straight combining canola — success factors

    Straight combining

    Here are factors that create the ideal situation for straight combining canola…

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  • Set the combine to reduce losses

    combine canola smalll

    Growers have three steps to assess combine losses:

    1. Measure the losses. Drop pans are required, given that combine loss monitors are not always accurate or calibrated properly. How to measure losses.
    2. Determine whether those losses are acceptable.
    3. If not acceptable, take measures to reduce the losses.

    Les Hill is the manager of technical services and business development for PAMI in Humboldt, Sask. He has 8 tips to reduce losses at the combine…

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  • Residue management starts at the combine

    Spread cereal residue evenly and chop it well to improve seed placement next spring.

    An important factor in canola stand establishment next spring is the crop residue situation this fall. An even mat of cereal residue is preferable to clumpy distribution that can affect drill performance, seed survival and overall crop uniformity next year. Fall is the best time to make sure residue is spread evenly. A properly adjusted combine straw chopper and spreader is key, and may eliminate the need for harrowing or stubble burning.

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  • Top 10 considerations to prep for next year

    Check for disease, plant counts, weeds and other factors that will help with planning for next year.

    1. Assess the disease situation.
    2. Consider disease severity when choosing varieties.
    3. Recognize which issues were agronomic versus environmental.
    4. Evaluate variety performance.
    5. Manage residue with the combine.
    6. Identify weeds before making fall weed control decisions.
    7. Manage volunteer canola. (Key is to prevent losses in the first place.)
    8. Count stems after harvest.
    9. Do a fall soil test.
    10. Sample soil for clubroot.

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  • Fall weed control on fields planned for canola

    Overwintering dandelions can be a host for aster yellows phytoplasma.

    Take these steps to control fall weeds and avoid herbicide carryover damage in fields planned for canola in 2015…

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  • Soil sampling for clubroot

    Decaying clubroot galls

    Various labs will test soil for clubroot. Those collecting soil samples are advised to park on the road when possible so the vehicle does not pick up infested soil. Follow sanitation procedures if visiting more than one field. This includes using disposal boot covers for each field and cleaning and disinfecting footwear and tools that come in contact with the soil. MAFRD provides these soil sampling procedures…

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  • Sprouted canola seed — grading guide

    Sprouted canola seed.

    Excess moisture has caused some canola to sprout inside pods. There is not much growers can do to avoid this, and combining early is not an option — given the storage risk.

    Sprouted seed is categorized as “damaged” seed, which is a grading factor. No.1 canola can have a maximum 5% damaged seed. No.2 can have up to 12% damaged seed. No.3 can have up to 25% damaged.

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