Best management practices for maximizing canola yields with harvest options

Proper harvest management is key to maximizing your canola yields, but when balancing heavy workloads with weather and field conditions, it isn’t always easy or straightforward.

While you know your fields better than anyone and are likely to have your preferences, there is no one best way to harvest canola. Each harvest method - swathing, delayed swathing and straight cutting - has its advantages and disadvantages and only with proper field assessment (just prior to 60% seed colour change) can you determine which method, or combination or methods, will result in your highest yields per acre.

To help you achieve the highest yields possible with the least amount of stress, here are some things to consider when deciding whether to swath, delay swathing or straight cut:

Swathing may be an option if:

  • Crop canopy is upright and not well knit together
  • Uneven crop staging from uneven crop emergence, disease, weedy patches or early season frost
  • Risk of early fall frost
  • Thin, short or lodged plant stand
  • The optimum stage to swath for both yield and quality is 60% seed colour change

Delayed swath may be an option if:

  • You grew a HarvestMax hybrid to reduce risk of shatter 
  • You need more time to help spread out the workload (waiting until 80% seed colour change could help, for instance)
  • Adverse weather conditions are in the forecast at 60% seed colour change when one would normally swath
  • The crop is well knitted with minimal disease or insect damage
  • Risk of early fall frost is low

Straight cutting may be an option if:

  • You seeded a HarvestMax hybrid with reduced risk of shatter
  • Plants are well-knitted with a slight lean to protect against severe wind events
  • Even, uniform crop maturation
  • Limited disease, hail or insect damage to plants or pods
  • There is a need to balance weather, crop conditions and maturity with your farm’s time efficiency (manpower and machinery)
  • Seed moisture is <10% with minimal green seed (ideally < 2%)

Need more information? The Canadian Canola Council provides important tips for harvest management that all canola growers can reference. 

Options to overcome today’s harvest challenges

One of the biggest factors in determining your crop’s suitability for swathing, delayed swathing or straight cutting is your canola hybrid. When seeding a Corteva canola hybrid with the HarvestMax trait you get the flexibility to extend your harvest window – you can swath, delay swathing or straight cut to maximize yield depending on weather, crop conditions, and machine and manpower availability.

Reducing the risk associated with shatter losses compared to non-HarvestMax hybrids, HarvestMax canola hybrids deliver maximum yield potential along with excellent standability and harvestability.

The genetic package in HarvestMax hybrids also include built-in traits such as clubroot (various new sources of resistance), sclerotinia and blackleg resistance, so you get a season-long solution that maximizes yield potential and disease protection.

There might not be a best way to harvest your canola. But there is a best choice if you’re looking for a high-yielding hybrid that gives you the harvest flexibility you need to overcome today’s farming challenges and boost your return on investment. 



Find the canola hybrid that works best for your operation