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Direct Harvest Canola

Direct Harvesting1? Things to consider:

Direct harvesting, delayed swathing and swathing are all options in a successful canola harvest management plan. If you have not direct harvested canola before we suggest that you plan ahead, start small and have management options available to enhance your flexibility before and during the growing season.

Direct Harvest Best Management Practices2

1. Field Selection
The first step in direct harvest planning is field selection. Select fields that are relatively free from weeds and/or that you have confidence your herbicide program can effectively eliminate, uniform, flat and free from low spots to ensure as uniform a crop as possible.

2. Variety Selection
Selecting the best yielding variety for your circumstances with the right maturity, disease resistance package and seed treatment for your conditions is in all likelihood the singular most important decision you can make. With respect to varieties suited to direct harvest, they will be labelled as such and should offer reduced levels of pod shattering potential and have superior standability. 

3. Crop Management

  • Seed early; use a seeding rate and practices to ensure a dense uniform stand that competes well with weeds, limits excessive crop branching and promotes even ripening.
  • Control weeds using labelled rates of recommended herbicides.
  • Manage diseases using fungicide application(s) when necessary. Diseases like Sclerotinia, Blackleg and Alternaria can lead to excessive shattering and/or lodging and a difficult harvest.
  • Before harvest evaluate crop for suitability for direct harvest (uniform, well knit, free from weeds, disease, hail or frost damage). Stands that are not suitable for direct harvest should be swathed.
  • Desiccation is a good idea to ensure more thorough crop and weed dry down, easier harvesting and cleaner samples in fields that are suitable to direct harvesting. Use the recommended labelled rates and timings for desiccants to ensure proper coverage and a uniform, fast dry-down.

4. Harvest Equipment
Harvest when crop is at 10% moisture or lower. Do not let fields that are ready for harvest stand for extended periods of time as it increases the risk of shattering losses or pod drop. Direct harvesting can sometimes lead to higher than expected green material in the harvest sample so monitor equipment settings and the binned crop closely. Your equipment dealer can provide specific recommendations on combine settings. Extending the cutting bar (where possible), slowing reel speed and angled harvest directions are general recommendations that may be helpful. Each field may require ongoing adjustments so monitor performance regularly.

1Individual results may vary from location to location and year to year. Product performance will vary due to environment, soil conditions, disease and other pest levels. Extreme weather events such as hail and/or high wind speeds and leaving a ripe crop standing for excessive periods may increase pod shatter and crop loss in mature, standing canola crops. Producers should evaluate data and information from multiple sources in making a variety selection and follow all direct harvest best management practices. While the information published on this website has been provided with utmost care, it shall not be taken as and does not imply a recommendation, representation or warranty by Brett-Young Seeds Ltd. 

2Direct harvest best management practices are adopted from Canola Council of Canada and other industry sources.