Frost in forecast: Should you swath now?

With light frost in the forecast, crop left standing will still have a chance to mature further.

A heavy frost will lock in high green counts unless the crop has adequate dry down time to achieve a seed moisture of 20% or less. This can take 3 good drying days, so swathing has to occur at least 3 days before the frost to achieve this benefit. If the crop is that green, however, growers may want to take the chance on a light frost knowing the crop needs more time to mature.


—If frost is forecast for several nights in a row, canola with a high percentage of green immature seed might not have much chance to mature further. Growers could cut the crop and accept that any yield potential from immature seed is likely lost.

—If growers still have a lot of canola to swath, they may need all the swathing days they can get. If today is a good day to swath, then go swathing but know that any yield potential from immature seed will likely be lost.  Check for signs of physiological maturity in the green seeds to help assess how significant those losses could be.