With the variable stages in this year’s canola crop, questions about the benefits of applying a pod sealant are surfacing. Pod sealants are relatively new to the Canadian marketplace and limited scientific research has been conducted with these products under western Canadian conditions. These products are designed to reduce shattering losses by preventing the pods from splitting open during ripening. As with any new agronomic tool where information on its performance under our environmental conditions is limited, it is always a good strategy to start small in order to learn what works best. Part of this learning should involve leaving check strips of an untreated area. By conducting your own on-farm experiment, you will be able to determine whether the application was beneficial and worth the investment in your situation.
Most of the questions regarding these products have focused on application timing. The information provided by the companies suggests that the majority of the pods should be changing colour from green to yellow but the pods should still be pliable enough to fold over without splitting open. It is still important for there to be enough seed colour change within the pods to allow curing and harvesting within the window of protection provided by the product you are using. The best advice is to consult with your company representative on the ideal timing for your fields. One other general tip that applies to these products is to stick with the high water volumes recommended by the company. Thorough coverage of all the pods is very important because these products form a physical coating to seal the pods against splitting open.