Canola School: Combine Speed, Header Choice & Harvest Tips to Minimize Losses


The canola crop is ripening at an incredible pace — should you wait and straight cut or try and swath ASAP? How fast is too fast to combine canola, in either scenario? These are questions that come up every year, but the trade-off between swathing and straight-cutting are especially important this year as the canola crop is ripening very quickly. Farmers shy away from straight combining the crop because of shattering risk, but as the crop moves from green, to ripe, to dried-right-out seemingly over night, combining a swath also carries significant shattering risks

If you’ve got questions about combining canola, there are few more experienced with the topic than Jim Bessel, who retired from the Canola Council of Canada, but seems to be doing a poor job of staying retired. caught up with Bessel at a recent canola field day to talk harvest management. In the video below, Bessel talks about harvest speed, fine tuning the header to minimize swath shatter losses (they can be significant!), how to turn a flex header into a rigid one do-it-yourself-style and why, regardless of header choice, you should likely start combining late in the day.

For a fantastic top 10 list of canola harvest tips from the Canola Council of Canada,including a link to the combine seed loss guide, click here.


If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.


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Canola School (view all)Season 5 (2013) Episode 8


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