1) SETTING YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Pod-Ceal and direct harvesting are management tools to help increase your profits. They are not silver bullets and need some careful consideration and management to reach their optimum potential.
2) VARIETY SELECTION
Choosing a variety that will give you the best stand and knit together may help reduce pod loss. Growers have reported varying degrees of pod drop on different varieties. Currently we do not have enough data to make specific variety recommendations.
3) PLANT STAND
A high seeding rate and early weed control will give you a heavy, even stand. The maturity will be more even and there will be fewer green weeds and immature plants at harvest time.
4) APPLICATION TIMING
Flex Test – Pods will still bend and crack, not split and burst when bent 90 degrees. The seeds on the main stem will be about 40-50% colour turn at this stage. The field will be turning from a dark green to a lime green colour. This is the optimum time in the application window for Pod-Ceal application.
5) WATER VOLUME
Maximum coverage ensures maximum effectiveness- 50 L/ha by air, or 150 L/ha for a ground rig. This volume of water can force its way to the bottom pods and wrap them in coverage as well.
6) TEMPERATURE AND MOISTURE
Very hot temperatures during application can evaporate some water between sprayer and pod, decreasing coverage.
A heavy dew or light rain does not affect Pod-Ceal, they may even help coverage.
7) CHOOSING TO USE A DESICCANT
A desiccant, applied at the same time as Pod-Ceal may speed maturity and control problem weeds. Quick acting contact desiccants work faster than is desirable, as the purpose of Pod-Ceal is to extend the harvest window and let the plants ripen naturally.
8) WINDROWING VS DIRECT HARVESTING
If the conditions are favourable for delayed windrowing, not direct harvesting (thin stand, hail damage) make sure that you do not pass the point of no return. If delayed windrowing is causing too much plant damage it is probably better to leave it stand and direct harvest the crop. If you must windrow, try to do it when moisture conditions will help reduce pod loss (dew, light rain).
9) HEADER TYPE AND SET UP
All header types have been shown to be usable for direct harvesting (auger and draper fronts). Managing and adjusting your header angles to suit your crop must be done to suit your crop conditions.
Some tips on header set up include:
Tilt the table forward may help feeding;
Pushing the reel back from the knife and high (fingers preferred and spaced wide);
Reel speed to match ground speed;
Lower fan speeds reduce seed losses from the back of the header;
Ground speed should be slow enough to prevent shattering at the cutter bar;
Best crop separation occurs when pods are slightly moist so consider harvesting during the early morning or late afternoon/evening or on cloudy days; and
If a pea auger is on your header, it may help to turn this on.
10) HARVEST MONITORING
A good way to collect a canola sample in a standing field is to perform a bag test. Strip pods from 15-20 plants from around the field and put them into a bag or pouch. Rough up the bag to break open the pods. Remove the straw and chaff to collect your canola sample.
11) HARVEST TIMING
When the canola is 8% moisture, it’s time to harvest! Standing Canola should be your top priority when it is ready. The pods may feel tough, and the stalks will probably show some green. This is the optimum time to harvest your canola, when the seeds are ready, not when the plant is dry. Dry plants can lose more seed to shatter and pod drop. Very dry canola will have a greater chance of shattering, and does not feed as well into the header.