Harvest planning: Swath timing and straight cutting

Some of the earliest canola fields could be ready to swath in two weeks. For those growers, we provide this short primer on swath timing and straight combining.

Seeds in this pod would be counted as colour changed.
Seeds in this pod would be counted as colour changed.

Swath timing: Swathing at 60% seed colour change (SCC) on the main stem will mean higher yield and quality than swathing at 30% seed colour change on the main stem. SCC is considered any amount of yellow or brown on the seed. Waiting allows more seeds on side branches to fill out and contribute to yield. With fewer plants per square foot than, say, a decade ago, more yield comes from these side branches than ever before.

More on swath timing:
Swath timing for higher yield
Canola School Video: When should I swath?
Top 10 reasons why you should wait to swath (One of the 10 in this 2013 article is “Might be sunscald”, which may be fairly common with hot sunny conditions this week.)

Straight combining: More and more canola growers are incorporating straight combining into their canola harvest programs, but it may not be suited to every field or every farmer’s risk approach.

More on straight combining:
Straight combining canola — Success factors
Top 10 situations that increase straight cut risk

Pre-harvest intervals: If you plan to swath in 14 days, that limits the insecticide and fungicides available for application — if these are deemed necessary. The Spray-to-Swath tool will show what products are available within a specific time frame.