Timely harvest tips

September 25, 2019 – Issue 26

Swathing before a frost. Swathing too early in anticipation of a frost is rarely a good move. To be effective, it has to be done three good curing days ahead of the frost. This can backfire because you’re accepting a yield loss in anticipation of a heavy frost that may not occur. Read more.

Frost hits standing canola: Swathing considerations. Check standing canola the morning after a frost.—Before taking any action, wait at least 4-6 hours after frost to allow the full extent of frost damage to become evident. The crop may look undamaged that morning but by the afternoon wilting, desiccation and pod splitting may begin. This crop may need to be swathed to preserve yield, but keep in mind that high green counts are likely.—Light to moderate frost damage may take longer to show up. If no damage is evident after the first day and you decide to leave the crop, scout again after 2 to 3 days to reassess.—If most or all seed is mature and you planned to swath the day after a frost anyway, then don’t bother waiting 4-6 hours. Just start swathing. Read more.

Frost hits standing canola: Straight combining considerations. People straight combining canola often wait for a frost to soften up the stems. Frost is nature’s desiccant, as ice crystals, forming inside plant cells, puncture cell membrane and cause cell contents to leak. If crop is immature and damage is fairly heavy, farmers may want to make this field a priority. Read more.

Frost and green seed counts. Canola seed drier than 20% moisture will not normally be damaged by frost. Most green seed issues result when heavy frost hits canola before the least mature seeds reach this moisture level. Frost permanently stops the chlorophyll-clearing process in these seeds and locks in green. Nothing can be done to reduce this green. Drying can shrivel up green immature seeds, which might seem to have a benefit, but it does not reduce the green in larger seed that will end up in your sample. See the Canola Watch library of green seed articles.

Cool weather reduces efficacy for pre-harvest aids. Glyphosate in cool conditions will do nothing to dry plants down. Heat and diquat-based desiccants, like Reglone, need sun and warm conditions to work properly. Extended cool cloudy conditions may result in plants treated with Heat or Reglone regrowing from side buds. See more detailed on pre-harvest aids at the bottom of this article.

How to reduce combine losses. Canola producers can lose up to five bushels per acre – perhaps even more – if the combine isn’t adjusted properly. Here are tips to measure combine losses and make adjustment to limit those losses, putting more canola in the bin and reducing the volunteer canola seedbank in your fields. Read more.

Residue management. Give your future seedbed a good start by managing residue this fall. They key is make sure the combine can produce a thin even layer of residue, which could eliminate the need to go in again to harrow or burn off residue. A good first step is to make sure straw chopper knives/blades, including stationary knives, are sharp. Adjust stationary knife height as needed to increase chopping. Check chopper knives regularly. Read more.

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