When preparing to straight cut your canola, here are some factors to consider and situations to prepare for, in order to optimize your operation.

1) Is your crop mature enough to straight cut?

Canola varieties with the pod-shatter tolerance trait are a great fit for straight cutting canola, so be sure you are getting the most out of the variety by leaving it standing longer than you would a swathed field. Growers should pay additional attention to conditioning straight cut canola (and getting it down to 10% moisture or less), especially if it has some high moisture dockage mixed in.

2) How is your stand looking?

There are many aspects to a stand which can make it ideal for straight cutting, such as a well-knit crop with uniform maturity and low disease. Read more about ideal stands for straight cutting here.

Straight cutting can still be successful in less than ideal situations, but in some scenarios it may be best to switch the plan to swathing. Read about situations that are higher risk to straight cut here.

3) Want to reduce some risks of straight cutting and help ensure success?

  • Careful with desiccant. Research by South East Research Farm in Redvers, Saskatchewan found that Diquat desiccant significantly increased green count compared to untreated swathed and straight combined plots. Diquat stops plant development, locking in green content. Yield is also reduced.
  • Harvest as soon as possible after the seed falls below two percent green content and is dry enough to store. Delayed harvest increases shattering losses.
  • Consider your equipment options and take care to optimize header reel and knife position, speed settings, and anything else that may reduce shattering losses.
  • Aerate straight-combined canola for at least a day or two after combining. Even if it comes off dry, green or wet plant material often makes its way into the sample.
  • Read more on this topic here.

4) What are you pre-harvest product options?

If you decide to use a desiccant to aid in the dry down of your crop and additional weed control, there are a few products to consider. Read about some of these options here; to decide which the best choice is for you and confirm your pre-harvest intervals (PHIs), check out spraytoswath.ca.

Remember to always apply products at the correct timing and with the recommended water volumes to maximize efficacy, in addition to respecting PHIs.

5) Want some more feedback?

Listen to some thoughts and recollections about growers’ experiences straight cutting in this episode of Canola School: Considerations for straight cutting as acres surge, featuring CCC agronomy specialist Keith Gabert.