The science of swath timing

With unpredictable weather and/or many acres to manage, it can be tempting to start swathing too early. However, the potential for higher yields, higher grades and greater profits are some of the reasons you may want to hold back.

A study carried out by the Canola Production Centre (in 2001-02) compared the yield and quality effects of various seed colour change (SCC) percentages at two different seeding rates. It determined that delaying swathing tended to result in the same or increased yields, with the greatest yield advantage for both seeding rates reported for trials swathed at 60-70% SCC. Although there are many factors that can influence the yield differential between different cut times, not all the information on this work is known (i.e. environmental conditions around cutting of the crop), measuring SCC can be somewhat subjective and varieties have improved since this study, most work indicates that yield is generally higher and more consistent with later cut times.


Summary of Crop Production Centre Study, 2001-2002

  • To accurately assess the stage of your crop, in order to help maximize yield potential, download the CCC canola swathing guide.

To read more about optimal swath timing, check out this article: