What to do with those variable-stage fields

August 26, 2019

For many parts of the Prairies, it’s been a challenging growing season — especially when it comes to canola.

A late spring, high-speed winds, hail damage, and too late and then late moisture have made for canola fields that have numerous stages in the same field.

Whether producers are swathing or straight-cutting their canola, they seem to all have the same question — when on earth do I get into this variable-stage field?

Shawn Senko, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada, tells RealAgriculture’s Kara Oosterhuis in this Canola School video that this year especially, it’s important to be checking more than one spot in every one of your fields.

“On a year like this, we talk about majority of the field – that typically is 90 per cent of the field. In this case, it might only be 60 per cent of the field, and we’ve got the 30 to 40 per cent that is nowhere near that. On a year like this, you might want to wait for those later parts of the field to fill in, because cutting canola in that 30 to 40 per cent can be 10 per cent or more yield loss, versus the 60 to 70 per cent. So it really comes down to how much of that field is variable and later, versus how much is ready to go.”

He adds that if you can, you want to base your timing on the latest part of your crop, especially if you are growing a shatter-resistant variety, to prevent shatter loss on the more mature parts of the crop.

Canola School videos are produced by Real Agriculture.

You can find all of the episodes on Real Agriculture's Canola School page

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