Cut canola too green, lose yield
By Canola Council of Canada
Sept. 3, 2013, Winnipeg, MB - Research conducted by the Canola Council of Canada over approximately 28 site-years indicates that significant yield increases can be achieved by waiting until 50-60 per cent seed colour change (SCC) on the main stem before swathing. Swathing at 50-60 per cent SCC resulted in eight per cent more yield than swathing at 30-40 per cent SCC, 12 per cent more yield than at 10-20 per cent SCC, and 19 per cent more yield than swathing before 10 per cent SCC.
This is based on research from 2001 and 2002. With the lower seeding rates and branchier plants of today, this yield difference between SCC rates may be even greater. By cutting at 30-40 per cent SCC on the mainstem, seeds in many of the side branches will be mushy. All these immature seeds will shrivel up and not contribute to yield. In short, cut too green and you cut a lot of green (as in money) off the bottom line.
Growers often face harvest challenges that make it difficult to swath all canola at 60 per cent SCC. Click here for quick tips to help with the swath timing decision.