Early reports last fall suggested that straight cutting canola is a viable strategy for most growers.
And with the right tools, the process can provide significant economic advantages.
As the data continues to come in and be evaluated, it appears producers should consider putting canola swaths behind them in a new way.
Last fall, Chris Holzapfel of the Indian Head Agricultural Foundation told producers attending a seminar in Regina that after looking at the data from projects at Indian Head and other prairie locations, it appears that the risks from straight cutting canola is about equal to the mechanical losses, smaller seed size and green seed found when the crop is swathed.
We wrote about it in our Dec. 4 edition of the paper and provided a fair bit of detail about the reasons why it makes financial sense to let it stand.
At Crop Production Week in Saskatoon the agronomist provided an update to the fall presentation.
The more the data is evaluated, the more sense it makes to start straight cutting oilseed.
It turns out the risk of shattering is greater for a farmer’s nerves than the crop, even when more shatter-prone varieties or hybrids are grown.
Add shatter resistant genetics and losses fall to the point where straight cutting, without the $15 per acre swathing cost and other negative attributes, performs as well or better than the windrow strategy.
Canola pods will fill more fully and produce larger seeds when given the chance to mature fully, which goes a long way toward covering the cost of shatter.
Straight cut headers and fast moving reels do cause additional losses, but it turns out they don’t add up as much as one might think and are more or equal to swath losses.
Producers who are considering straight cutting all or part of the their crop should have a look at Holzapfel’s research results. His presentation at Crop Production Week can be downloaded at www.cropweek.com/2015-presentations.
The Western Producer article is available at http://bit.ly/1wlXXD2.