No matter how good the harvest weather or how dry the harvested crop, all canola should be after it goes into the bin to ensure safe long-term storage — especially if it goes into the bin warm. For tough and damp canola, the spoilage risk is much higher.
Fall is a good time to control perennial and winter annual weeds, but…(1) Wait for post-harvest regrowth and (2) Know the best timing for the weeds present.
Frost provides some natural desiccation that may help dry weeds and green stems in fields left for straight combining. Some growers actually wait for frost before combining, using it as a tool to aid in crop dry down — but this may not be advised if the field is ready and no frost is forecast.
Harvest is a great time to assess the incidence and severity of canola diseases, an important step in management for next year.
We know that tillage will spread clubroot as well as weed seeds and verticillium, but ruts can create headaches for combining, fall spraying and seeding next spring. Working wet fields can also cause compaction.
Soil Compaction Workshop, September 27, Portage la Prairie, Man.
Western Forum on Pest Management, October 19-21, Saskatoon, Sask.
Canola Discovery Forum, October 25-27, Winnipeg, Man.
CCC Convention, March 7-9, Winnipeg, Man.
Harvest delays due to soggy soils, frequent rains and even mist have canola growers wondering about risk to the crop and what, if anything, they can do reduce these risks. Really, the only approach is to wait out the weather. When fields are able to support the swather, decide then whether the staging suits swathing or straight combining. This article answers these and other questions: What is the “point of no return” for swath timing? Will canola seeds sprout with all the rain? How much does cool, wet weather extend curing time?
Questions that arise with long rain delays:
Frost on pods can stop plant development and lock in green. It can also cause pods to split. However, a light frost may have no effect at all, and the crop will be better left to mature fully.
To determine which situation applies in a frost situation, do the following:
- Check standing canola the morning after a frost.
- Before taking any action, wait at least 4-6 hours after frost to allow the full extent of frost damage to become evident. The crop may look undamaged that morning but by the afternoon wilting, desiccation and pod splitting may begin. This crop may need to be swathed to preserve yield, but keep in mind that high green counts are likely.
- Light to moderate frost damage may take longer to show up. If no damage is evident after the first day and you decide to leave the crop, scout again after 2 to 3 days to reassess.
- If most or all seed is mature and you planned to swath the day after a frost anyway, then don’t bother waiting 4-6 hours. Just start swathing.
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