Harvest Equipment Tips
For harvesting canola, the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) explains that because the characteristics of a standing crop can be distinctly different from that of a windrowed crop, combine settings may be quite different in each situation. The cleaning system may be the limiting factor in maximizing oilseed harvest for a dry, swathed crop for example, but the rotor is more likely to be the limiting factor in a straight cut crop.
In general, for straight cut, ensure your reel height is not set too low or substantial loss will result. CCC advises starting with the same settings you use for swathed canola and then fine-tune from there. Also remember that green canola straw can use up combine power and overload the shoe if over-threshed. In a lodged field, travel perpendicular to the crop lean to facilitate better pickup in both travel directions.
Harvest & Post-harvest Checklist
Swathing or straight cutting?
- Straight cutting can offer both benefits and drawbacks, depending on each grower’s operation. It can be used as a tool to manage logistics at harvest, reduce labor, time and equipment requirements, and capture more yield, while it can also slow down the harvest operation and require an additional in‑crop application.
- If you decide to swath, for optimal canola yield and quality, time swathing to at least 60% seed color change (SCC) on the main stem of the plant.
- Research conducted by Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute concluded that all headers tested could be used to successfully straight cut. While there were differences in ease of operation and small differences in loss, the largest predictor of loss along the header was the degree of shatter tolerance in the variety.
- The characteristics of a standing crop can be distinctly different from that of a windrowed crop. As a result, combine settings may be quite different in each situation. For example, the cleaning system may be the limiting factor in a dry, swathed crop, but the rotor is more likely to be the limiting factor in a straight cut crop.
- Canola seeds have high oil content, so they can be more volatile in storage than the other grains grown. As a result, extra care must be taken to properly condition it in order to maintain its quality.
- Condition canola to 8% moisture content and less than 60 degrees Farenheit as soon as possible after harvest, for safe long-term storage.
- Monitor storage facilities closely within the first six weeks after harvest when respiration can be high. Regular monitoring should occur throughout the winter.