Reduce losses while combining

December 1, 2014

KEY PRACTICE: Ground speed and mechanical adjustments to the combine can reduce harvest losses and increase yields. For growers who want to try straight combining, start with one field with uniform maturity and high yield potential.

KEY RESEARCH: Gulden, R.H., University of Manitoba, et al. “Evaluation of Harvest Losses and Their Causes in Canola Across Western Canada.” Canola Digest Science Edition (2013).

Haile, T.A., University of Saskatchewan, et al. “Canola Genotypes and Harvest Methods Affect Seedbank Addition.” Agronomy Journal (2014).

Holzapfel, C., Indian Head Agriculture Research Foundation. “Evaluating the Effects of Glyphosate and Pod Sealants on the Yield of Straight-Combined Canola on a Large Field-Scale.” Canola Agronomic Research Program (CARP) project (2011).

Holzapfel, C., Indian Head Agriculture Research Foundation. “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Pod Sealants for Reducing Shattering Losses in Several Cultivars of Direct-Combined Canola.” CARP project (2010).


Improved genetics, larger farms and the yield benefits realized in fields harvested at (at least) 60 percent seed colour change (SCC) have made straight combining an attractive — and realistic — alternative to swathing. There is good reason for this consideration, too: reduced time, cost and equipment wear, along with the potential increases in seed size, yield and oil content associated with this harvest method. However, the increased risk can be a deterrent.

Determining which method is most appropriate requires the consideration of several factors, which may vary in importance according to the growing conditions in an area. A two-year study: “Canola Genotypes and Harvest Methods Affect Seedbank Addition,” by Teketel Haile et al (2014), determined that swathing resulted in significantly higher seed shatter, and consequently greater seed loss than straight combining. In addition to this yield loss, the seeds contribute to volunteers that will have to be managed the following year, requiring more time, machinery use and cost.

Open the PDF to read the entire research summary from the 2014 Science Issue of Canola Digest

You can also read the 2014 Science Issue of Canola Digest as a flipbook

Visit the Canola Research Hub website to search the database of grower funded research

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