Canola School: Harvest decisions and bin management for green or tough canola

Harvest started strong in most parts of the Prairies and then has either came to a complete halt or fallen into a slow grind of doing a few acres, checking moisture levels, changing fields, waiting, and getting frustrated.

RealAgriculture’s Saskatchewan field editor Dale Leftwich went out to a couple of fields with Canola Council of Canada agronomy specialist Shawn Senko to discuss some of the harvest decisions farmers have to consider in a trying harvest season.

Often, one of the considerations is green seed count. Senko says the chances of that changing much at this stage are getting pretty slim. “Really, if you have had frost already you’d have to get above 20 per cent seed moisture to reactivate any enzymes, if they even will reactivate, so at this point rolling for green seed, we’re kind of past that stage. We’re at the point now if it is dry enough to harvest it off we need to pretty much take it off.”

Frost can be your friend when it comes to putting the crop through the combine. Senko points out, “If you’ve had a frost it does tend to help, if you don’t have that green moisture any more. Like I say sometimes it makes a difference, has it had any pre-harvest applications of any products on it to help it along.” (story continues below…)

Senko says if you are straight-combing don’t worry about going from corner to corner — focus on the best and most uniform sections of the field. Putting low spots, or green or weedy spots into the bin can create pockets where spoilage starts and therefore be much more trouble than they are worth.

Even if you have the canola on air, turning the bin is still an good idea. Senko says, “I have to caution, any thing that is tough canola or above dry is still always going to be a bit of a danger, so it’s best to rotate that grain.”

And of course it is really important to have a good relationship with your grain buyer. If they have samples of your grain and they can take out of condition tonnage off your hands quickly, it makes everything after that a little easier.