Thin stands and straight combining

Uniform well-knit canola crops are the best for straight combining, but what about thin and/or multi-stage canola? Both harvest options have risks:

  • Short or thin crops will not produce a windrow that rolls nicely, and may not have the stubble to hold that windrow and prevent it from blowing. Straight combining eliminates the risk of swaths blowing.
  • Leaving an uneven crop standing for straight combining may allow more of the later pods to mature and contribute to yield.
  • But leaving a thin and uneven crop standing can present a lot of risk if it’s a standard (non-shatter-tolerant) variety. Plants in this loose stand can whip around in the wind.
  • And leaving uneven stands upright until the latest plants and branches are mature can present significant risk for earliest pods that are in a very dry state for days, even weeks.
  • A straight-combined thin crop may not feed well into the combine, which could mean substantial losses at the header.
  • With an uneven crops, desiccation may be required to dry down weeds and those very late canola plants to facilitate straight combining. Hold off on desiccation as long as possible to let as much of the crop mature, then go in with desiccant a few days before harvest.

Further reading:

Straight-combining canola: Success factors
PAMI Straight-Cut Canola Guide Book