BRANDON — Farmers probably don’t realize how much canola they’re losing out the backs of their combines.
If they do realize it, many panic and fail to fix the problem, says Canola Council of Canada agronomy expert Angela Brackenreed.
“It’s a pile of money,” said Brackenreed in an interview after a presentation at Manitoba Ag Days.
She estimated that two to five bushels per acre are lost in combining, losses that could be reduced below one bushel per acre.
Brackenreed told farmers to use loss monitors on their combines, but they must correctly set them. Many farmers have poorly calibrated monitors and get false results, preventing them reacting properly.
Farmers might lose an average of two to five bushels per acre, but losing five bushels isn’t a rare situation, and “10 to13 happens.”
If a farmer sets up a loss monitor system and calibrates it right and finds out he has a problem, he shouldn’t immediately change everything.
“Change (various combine settings) one at a time,” said Brackenreed.
“Check your losses again, and go from there.”
What do farmers often do?
“They go in and change three things because they’re panicked, go measure it again, and they’ve either made it worse or haven’t had any change. Now what? You don’t really know which one of those things you changed actually helped or made it worse.”
Brackenreed told farmers to go slowly and perfect their combining because the gains can be enormous.
“I’ve seen people achieve a quarter of a bushel (loss per acre),” said Brackenreed.