Straight to the finish
It's almost time for the last pass of the season. Bring your canola harvest to a strong finish with personalized desiccant and straight cutting advice.
Straight cut decision factors
Equipment, weather, crop stage and harvest timing are all factors that can affect your pre-harvest strategy in straight cut canola. Read the mini blogs below for insight on your options.
If you’re the type of grower who pays closer attention to financial analysis than trends, here are some numbers you should know.
Machinery: You may need to consider investing in header extensions or a draper header for straight cutting, but there are still substantial machinery savings when you no longer need your swather to harvest canola. No need to purchase a new swather ($220-290,000), lease it ($108-142/hour) or hire a custom operator ($10-15/acre). (Source: Manitoba Agriculture).
Labour: If you traditionally hire someone to operate the swather, you can also factor in those savings. The average salary for an agriculture equipment operator in Canada is $20/hour. Custom swathing costs between $10-$15/acre or $160-$210/hour.
Fuel and wear and tear: Skipping the pass with the swather, or combining more quickly with an evenly dried down crop, will save fuel costs. It can also reduce wear and tear on equipment and prevent operator fatigue.
Seed: Though not required, you may decide to purchase a high-value canola variety that is recognized for shatter resistance. These varieties can cost a few dollars more per acre more than conventional varieties.
Costs of potential yield loss: The Prairies experienced heavy crop losses in 2019 due to a wet harvest season and early snowfall. SCIC was expecting $350 million in claims for acres that were left out over winter.
Some of our straight cut canola customers decided to desiccate last season. They were able to harvest before the snow flew, so they saw a favourable ROI on their pre-harvest decision to apply Reglone® Ion.
Avoid harvest losses by making sure your equipment is performing at its peak. Here’s what PAMI found in their straight cutting research:
- Header: The best one for the job is the extendable knife header, followed by draper headers. #ProTip: An upper cross auger and center section seal kit can further increase harvest efficiency and reduce seed loss.
- Dividers: The best one for the job is the vertical knife divider, followed by fixed dividers.
- Reel: In a well-standing crop, set reel fingers so they are vertical or pointed ahead slightly when lifting out of the crop on the backside of the reel. Set the reel as far back as possible while maintaining good feeding.
On the combine, check for leaks and proper feed. If you want to increase ground speed, consider using a pre-harvest desiccant to dry down green material on the plant to reduce plugging. One research plot compared the direct harvesting times for untreated InVigor® L140P and the same variety treated with Reglone® Ion. A pass in the untreated field took 5:49 where a pass in the treated field took 4:50.1 Another study found that desiccated canola could be harvested at 3.7 mph, compared to swathed or untreated canola at 3.1 mph. When you expand those time savings across your canola operation, you can get more done in a day while reducing wear on the combine.2
1. “Syngenta Reglone Ion straight cut combine comparison.” 2019. https://www.syngenta.ca/Productsdetail/Reglone-Ion/canola
2. “Straight Cutting Canola in Manitoba: Comparison of Pre-Harvest Aids.” PAMI, 2017. http://pami.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Research_Report_Straight_Cutting_Canola_In_Manitoba.pdf
Growers and Cargill agronomists share tried-and-true products for different straight cutting strategies.
When you want to try straight cutting for the first time:
Growers have seen L233P withstand tough conditions like wind and hail and still deliver impressive yields. It provides great flexibility on harvest timing.
When you want to straight cut and control tough weeds:
DKTF 96 SC has given growers the opportunity for season-long quackgrass control because TruFlex™ technology allows for an in-season glyphosate application.
When you want to straight cut and manage clubroot:
The new L345PC has the strong pod shatter trait that many growers are familiar with, plus clubroot resistance.
When you want to keep your options open:
DK 75-65 RR is a little taller, so it’s easier to harvest. Growers have the option of either straight cutting or swathing at 80% maturity.
When you want to manage perennial weeds pre-harvest:
Growers can keep weed seed and green weeds out of the combine by tank mixing Heat® LQ plus glyphosate.
When you want to harvest earlier:
Apply a desiccant like Reglone® Ion when 90% of the seeds have turned brown. It will dry down green material in the field so that growers can combine more easily and with less clogging.
Even if your canola variety does not have pod shatter traits, you may still be able to straight cut. Check the field to ensure the canola is standing well, has even maturity and has the architecture to branch out and weave together.
Optimize your combine to reduce pod shatter (check out the equipment tips above for more info). If you don’t have specialized headers or equipment for straight cutting, there are still two simple things you can do to minimize harvest losses:
- Stick to the feedrate for your combine’s peak processing capability. It might mean slowing your speed down by 0.2 or 0.3 mph.
- Seal any gaps where seed can fall out of the header: between belts, out of the table and around the auger.
If you did plant a shatter-resistant canola variety, and there’s frost or bad weather ahead, you can spray a desiccant and move up your harvest dates by 3-5 days. Make sure 90% of each plant has seeds that have turned completely brown. Apply Reglone® Ion at a rate of 0.83 L/acre and a water volume of 20 gal/acre (ground applications). Make sure your canola variety is pod shatter resistant.
Considering a desiccant for your straight cut canola crop? Here’s what you need to know.
Reserve Reglone® Ion
Cargill is offering no-obligation Reglone Ion reservations to all customers. Click below to fill out the form and we’ll ensure there’s sufficient Reglone Ion for your canola at your nearest Cargill location.
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