The Agronomists, Ep 85: Michelle Durnin and Keith Gabert on post-harvest scouting


Every field tells a story, and not just through the yield monitor.

From final plant stand figures, to disease pressures, to weed spectrums and control windows, harvest and post-harvest scouting can offer so much information about what to do next year or the next time a field sees this crop again.

To dive in to the post-harvest scouting routine, this episode of The Agronomists features guest-host Kara Oosterhuis with guests Michelle Durnin of Agri-Solve Inc, and Keith Gabert of the Canola Council of Canada.

This episode of The Agronomists is brought to you by ADAMA Canada, Decisive Farming, and the Canola School.

Catch a new episode of The Agronomists every Monday night at 8 pm E!

Don’t forget to apply for your CCA/CEU credits!


  • It’s Kara!
  • So many people in the comments so early. It’s always great to see
  • Beauty weather in Alberta, first frost in Ontario
  • This is Michelle and Keith’s first time on The Agronomists!
  • How are agronomists like doctors?
  • Let’s focus on fall weed control, first
  • Observe from the combine (and behind it)
  • Edible bean ground without glyphosate as an option — dandelions and some other perennials are an issue, especially going in to winter wheat
  • Glyphosate really does work exceptionally well in the fall
  • Much of the west has not yet had a killing frost, so the window is still open
  • Gabert says make sure you use the information you collect at the end of the season on next time that crop is on that land
  • Diseases in canola especially: clubroot, blackleg, sclerotinia, and verticillium wilt
  • You have to know if you spent enough money on seed, too
  • Clip the stems! Need to see what’s at the base of those canola stalks
  • What about residue spread?
  • Many combines don’t spread the residue the full width of the header and leave a bit of a mess
  • Residue management impacts the next spring so much
  • Scouting for harvest losses (We did an episode on managing losses not long ago. Find it here)
  • Last year in Ontario, there was an incredible amount of soybean and edible bean volunteers
  • A frost can kick some of those weeds in to prep for winter mode, so that’s good
  • But there is a limit to how late you can spray, depending on conditions
  • Too early isn’t good, too
  • Cooler means the herbicide choice really matters
  • Choice multiple modes of effective action
  • Contact herbicides aren’t the go-to in the fall
  • Good point: if you can’t get the fall pass done, what is your spring plan?
  • What about dust on the weeds? I.e. dust or residue
  • It’s a water of weighing the odds, dust reduces efficacy of all
  • Edible beans and soybeans get rots as well, but usually scouting/assessment is done in the field
  • Sudden death syndrome in soybean need a closer look
  • Oddly, these plants hold on to the green (branches) late in the season
  • Watch the combine monitor for patches of lower yield and get a diagnoses
  • White mould is always and issue, but the dry conditions kept it at bay
  • Again, keep good records
  • What about brown stem rot? Charcoal rot — it’s suspect, not confirmed
  • Check out the base of the stem and roots. Send to a lab!
  • Clip 1: Jeanette Gaulthier on canola post-harvest scouting
  • Assessing plant stand counts post-harvest are not usually done in the fall for soybeans
  • Usually assessed in the spring, i.e. poor planter performance, insect pressure
  • But, at harvest, you can see the re-plant results and total population success
  • For corn, there are more “stories to read” this time of year
  • Serious goosenecking from insects in corn
  • With canola, we think about two seeds to get one plant, unlike one-to-one in beans and corn
  • Count the stalks, y’all
  • It’s the best way to assess the end result of seeding
  • Canola compensates, but there are limits
  • Assess compaction, moisture levels, and sample that soil!
  • Fertility assessment is so key
  • Have to talk about clubroot: can we sample in the fall?
  • Weedy patches can indicate clubroot
  • Look for healthy roots still on the plant. Missing roots can mean the gall is decomposing
  • Bag the roots if you have galls, but you should soil sample for testing
  • You can lime it, but needs to be worked in — but then remember to sanitize equipment!
  • Assess for aphanomyces in pulses too
  • Post-harvest/harvest is a time crunch
  • Storage! Less than ideal crop coming off? Monitor!
  • Safe storage: temperature and moisture
  • Good harvest weather isn’t usually the best storage weather
  • How dirty is the crop? Grasshopper legs, yo
  • Ontario is lucky to have so many great commercial sites managing storage
  • Take a really good sample
  • Check in with your elevator, could alert you to any issues ahead of time
  • How late can you sample for soybean cyst nematode? When there are roots
  • Clubroot spore count can be done later in the year, but follow up the next year
  • Test the top three-inches, not typical soil depths
  • Verticillium wilt building in the Prairies
  • It’s easy to miss!

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