Still Thinking About Straight Cutting?

Straight cutting of canola is becoming more common in some parts of the Prairies (e.g. parts of the Peace Region in Alberta). For many fields this year this decision will already have been made, but for any late fields where this is still being considered, keep in mind the following four factors:

  • Frost risk – Canola seed is at significant risk for fall frost damage until seed moisture drops below 20%. This moisture drop will take much longer in a standing crop, making late maturing crops poor candidates for straight cutting. Canola will be much more vulnerable to yield loss and downgrading from frost damage when standing.
  • Crop canopy – The crop should be well knitted and slightly lodged to reduce potential seed loss through pod drop and shelling. Frost, drought and insect damage all affect pod integrity. A uniform crop with minimal green weed growth is also a huge advantage when straight cutting.
  • Disease – The crop should be relatively free from blackleg, fusarium wilt, sclerotinia and alternaria, as these diseases can cause premature ripening, which makes the crop prone to pod shatter.
  • Hail – Crops affected by hail are poor candidates for straight cutting because they typically see greater disease infection due to tissue damage. The physical damage also reduces pod integrity. If late season hail is common in your area, keep in mind that hail will cause more damage to a standing crop than a swathed crop.