Does Your Seed Past The Test?

When growing a crop there are many factors that come into play during the growing season. Moisture, weed pressure, fertilizer source and fertilizer rates will greatly affect the overall yield and quality of the crop. We cannot do anything about “Mother Nature.”  So, we must make the best choices we can during the growing season to manage the hardships we can control.

First and foremost, we need to make sure we have the best seed possible. How do we make sure that this is attained before we start? Sending your seed to a seed lab is the first step. There are many seed labs across western Canada that will do this for you for minimal expense. Getting a complete seed test done will give you not only seed germination and vigor but will also point out specific fungi levels that are present on the seed.


Germination is defined as “the development of a plant from a seed or spore after a period of dormancy”. The test is relatively straight forward. It is completed by dampening 200 random and placing them under a specific temperature. Over time, you will begin to see how your seeds will perform in the test. The seeds are split into different categories to determine what has been seen and documented.

  • Seedlings germinate normally, showing they can produce useful mature plants under favorable field conditions.
  • Seedlings that show some form of growth, but do not have enough plant structures to maintain a healthy plant.
  • Fresh Seeds. Seeds that fail to germinate but have imbibed water. They appear firm, fresh and capable of germination, but remain dormant.
  • Dormant SeedsViable seeds (other than hard seeds) that fail to germinate under the test conditions.
  • HardSeeds with coats that are impermeable to water, so they stay hard throughout the test period.
  • Dead Seeds that cannot produce any part of a seedling.


 Vigor is simply the strength and robustness of the healthy seeds ability to grow from emergence to a seedling. A common way to measure vigor is called a Cold Stress Test. Cold stress tests gauge the seedlings’ capability to endure the low temperature stress (5°C to 7°C) seen in early spring planting.

Cold stress tests are reported in two separate categories, emergence, and vigor.

  • Emergence is the ratio of seedlings that formed normally and quickly under cold conditions.
  • Vigor is the ratio of seedlings that have reached a predetermined minimum criterion to be considered high vigor.

The target for a high vigor seed is 80% emergence and 60% vigor. Expected field performance falls between the vigor and emergence principles under a variety of field situations and is significantly better when field conditions are more favorable.


 Another test that tends to be overlooked quite a bit is the Fungal Screen. This a quick growth breakdown of different pathogens and fungi on a sterilized petri dish that are present within and on the surface of the seed. Under the right circumstances seeds can develop and become an issue in the field if not fixed. This test is almost like a cheat sheet. We can figure out firsthand which type of seed treatment options will be the best for our specific crop and diseases that are present. Some labs may also retest the same seed using the seed treatment best used to control that specific disease. Fungi and Pathogens that are screened are as follows.

  • Cochlioblous sativus (Seedling blight, foot and root rot or spot blotch)-
  • Fusarium graminearum (Head blight) –
  • Fusarium spp.  (Seedling blight, root and crown rot, and head blight)
  • Pyrenophora spp. (leaf stripe, net blotch and tan spot)
  • Septoria spp.Septoria spp. (Leaf blotch)
  • Alternaria spp. (weak pathogen)
  • Cladosprium spp. (weak pathogen)
  • Epicoccum spp. (weak pathogen)

 These are just quick breakdowns of what seed labs can offer to you as a grower. Making sure you have got strong seed is extremely important if you are looking to grow the best crop you can. You only get one chance in the spring to get it right; so why not start with great seed! Contact your local SynergyAG rep to get your seed tested!

Ready – Set – Grow!


Treating seed that gets put into the ground to grow a crop is nothing new.  Seed treatments have been utilized for many centuries. What is new in the game is applying nutrient seed dressings. Ensuring that the seed has the proper nutrients available early in its life cycle allows for maximum early season growth for that plant.

In the past, the biggest limitation to expanding seed treatment options has been the application of multiple products on seed.  With todays modern seed treaters and product formulations, we have the ability to apply up to 5 or 6 products at one time on the seed.  This has opened the door to expanding our seed treatment options into applying not only fungicidal and insecticidal seed treatments but also applying nutrients and bio-stimulants.


Nutrient seed priming is a topic that has been explored now for a few decades.  There are a couple reasons that seed priming has become a popular topic of discussion.  The agronomical benefit of seed nutrient priming ensures that critical micronutrients are close to the seed and available for quick uptake.  This will ensure quick germination. Allowing the plant to get its first leaves established and taking in sunlight for photosynthesis.  Increasing plant size early on in the growing year will allow that plant to better handle stress.

One of the popular nutrients for seed priming has been zinc.  Zinc applied on seed for early season uptake has shown great success in giving the crop a jump on germination and early season growth. As yields increase, there is recorded dilution of seed nutrients occurring.  This can cause concern in germination vigor of the seed.

If we examine the economics of seed priming, it usually requires a significantly lower investment when compared to soil applied nutrients.  This is especially true when the grower is already treating the seed with a fungicidal seed treatment.  Here in western Canada, true micronutrient deficiencies are incredibly variable across our soil and it’s a challenge to apply products just to the affected acres.  One way to get around this issue is utilizing seed priming and applying nutrients right to the seed.

To get more information on the benefits of seed treatments, please give your local SynergyAG rep a call and find out how we can work with you to get your crop off to the right start.

Planning Farming Practices Ahead of Dry Conditions

For farmers, the start to a new crop year begins much before all the equipment hits the fields in the spring. To start off the new crop year, you must review the past years operations, and make a crop plan based on your past success and the commodity market. Planning consists of choosing which practices to utilize, what crops to grow, what inputs to use and many more. These decisions are usually made based on a prediction of what the growing conditions are going to be like for the upcoming year. Across the Canadian Prairies, specifically Saskatchewan, large areas have seen below average precipitation in the past four years. Some years receiving less than half the average rainfall, results in extremely dry conditions. Fortunately, there are many ways to adapt and change farming practices to ensure you will remain productive during dry conditions. Tools such as fertilizing, choosing crops to grow, and in-crop control can all be altered based on the condition’s farmers are faced with.


When creating a fertilizer plan, you need to keep in mind that there are potential losses that can take place throughout the season. There is risk of fertilizer loss from a seedbed that’s lacking moisture, as well as increased risk if you get a precipitation event soon after seeding. Losses of nitrogen (N) can be minimized by adding stabilizers on either their dry or liquid fertilizers. For nitrogen, stabilizers prevent the enzyme urease from converting urea into ammonia gas. If there is not adequate available soil moisture at seeding, you may want to back off the nitrogen you put down. Should environmental conditions favor an increased yield goal, you can top up your nitrogen in season. If you get adequate moisture shortly after seeding, early applications such as broadcasting, dribble banding, and foliar nutrition (such as melted urea) would be an option to add to your herbicides. There are also fertilizers that are more plant available, such as orthophosphates and zinc sulphates. Incorporating these forms of fertilizers have shown very effective results in prairie soils under dry conditions.

Choosing which crops to grow

When growing a crop in dry conditions, it is very beneficial to get your soil tested to determine exactly what type of soil your fields have. Heavier soils with more clay particles have higher water and nutrient holding capacity then lighter soils with a silty/sandy texture. A representative soil test would help you analyze the makeup of your soil and determine the level of available nutrients your soil has. The next key factor is finding out how deep down the moisture is, and try to figure out the ideal depth to place the seed. During dry conditions, there will be an advantage to seeding cereals and pulses a bit deeper than normal to find moisture. Cereals are ideally seeded 1-2 inches deep and pulses 1-3 inches deep. Crops seeded closer to the surface will have more trouble germinating in dry conditions due to lack of moisture. Canola and other oilseeds are optimally seeded at 0.5-1 inches deep.

Another way to manage dry conditions will be to choose crops that are more drought tolerant. Try to choose crops that have lower daily moisture requirements as a way of coping with periods of inadequate moisture. These crops would be mostly cereals and pulses in our area. Cereals like barley have drought-tolerant traits in them and have lower daily water use than most other crops. Pulses, especially lentils, are very drought tolerant. They thrive in dryer conditions, as their daily water use is very low. The moisture requirements of common crops are as follows: cereals (380-430mm), peas (300-370mm), wheat (420-480mm), canola (400-480mm), and corn (580-650mm). Since pulses are an early maturing crop, they have the best chance at early germination, increasing the chance of having pollination completed before the driest part of the season.

In-Crop Control

Dry conditions, as have been seen in the last few years, bring different challenges to overcome when it comes time for in-crop control. Certain strains of insects are starting to become an increasing problem again as drier conditions persist. These pests can greatly impact yield. Insects such as grasshoppers, flea beetles, and cutworms can create detrimental losses to crops when it is dry. When plants are not able to grow fast enough, they struggle to compete with the economic threshold of the insect in the field. Dry conditions also present new or challenging weeds that may require different sources of control efforts. Kochia, thistle, and dandelions all seem to show up when conditions are drier. These weeds compete with the crop for water and nutrients. To control arising insect and weed issues when it’s dry, it may be beneficial to consider a enhanced control herbicide, such as a residual control herbicide. There are residual herbicides that are exceptionally good on kochia. It may also mean you might have to plan to spray an insecticide in season for grasshoppers in your cereals or flea beetles in your canola. These challenges can be watched carefully throughout the growing season by an agronomist.

Plan Ahead

Heading into the 2021 crop year, the potential looks very promising, amid the dry conditions. It will be a year of planning to adapt the farming practices that you can use during dry conditions, such as fertilizing, choosing which crops to grow, and in-crop control.

The commodity markets have also been on the rise for some time and are looking very strong with many markets being bullish. Now it’s time to start planning.

For further information, please contact the local SynergyAG representative in your area!

Variable Rate Soil & Fertilizer

Would you treat these soils the same? You will probably answer no to that question, but if you are not applying variable-rate technology (VRT) on your farm, you ARE treating those soils the same. These soils came from a field with relatively flat topography and did not show a large amount of variability to the naked eye. The objective of variable-rate technology is to better distribute and customize inputs to maximize productivity.

Why Is VRT Important?

A large amount of soil on the Prairies has more than enough variability to warrant investing in variable-rate technology. Variable soils will often show variation in plant-available nitrogen (NO3-N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (SO4-S). The most crucial step in achieving success with a variable rate is finding/creating a representative map of the land you wish to variable-rate.

How Does VRT Work?

VR maps will break the field into multiple zones based on things such as topography, elevation, and electrical conductivity. Hilltops, mid-slopes, and depressions will be treated independently from each other. This allows you to pinpoint the strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities of each soil type. Having a detailed map to base soil sampling will give you a much more dependable soil test result. The overall goal of a variable rate fertilizer and seed prescription is to have your crop come in nice and even to reduce complications at harvest due to uneven crop stage.

How Is VRT Used?

Variable-rate maps can be used for multiple applications. Some of these examples include:

  • Seed and fertilizer applications with a drill
  • Fertilizer applications that are only needed in specific zones (applying Edge to zones with high Kochia populations)
  • Fungicide applications in the highest producing zones in the field

SynergyAG works closely with CropPro and SWAT Maps to create top of the line variable-rate maps for our customers. To learn more about VRT on your land, or start utilizing it on your farm, contact your local SynergyAG rep!

Treating Your Fertilizer

As we transition into the winter months, we move away from fieldwork and into the planning stages for next year’s growing season. With crop rotation and soil sample results in mind, a fertility plan can be formed. Decisions must be made such as what type of fertilizer you will use, how much of each product you will need to achieve your desired lbs/ac, and how you would like to apply the fertilizer and when. One should always be thinking of the 4R’s: Right Fertilizer source at the Right rate at the Right time and in the Right place. 

All fertilizers are equally important, and one should not be prioritized over any others however macronutrients such as NPK&S are required in greater quantities and environmental losses are less tolerated by the crop – especially Nitrogen and Phosphorus. 


Nitrogen is a vital nutrient because it is a major component of chlorophyll: a major component of photosynthesis.  Nitrogen also produces amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins that are essential to all plant processes. 

There are a few different forms of nitrogen that are commonly used throughout the prairies. The first being anhydrous ammonia in a gaseous form (NH3), the second being a liquid form (NH4), and the third being a dry formulation such as Urea (NH2). Nitrogen must be transformed from its many different forms into a plant-available form of NH4 through nitrification. These changes are caused by exposure to oxygen and water. 

Treating Nitrogen

Nitrogen moves around in the environment readily and is transformed and lost very easily, it is important to use proper practices to ensure your crop is getting the nitrogen it needs for the growing season. Whether you are broadcasting, top dressing, or putting your nitrogen in a row it is a good idea to treat your nitrogen. There are different options for Nitrogen treatments and stabilizers that work in different ways like inhibiting enzymes and keeping nitrogen in its immobile form for longer. By treating your nitrogen, you are ensuring that 10% more nitrogen will be available to the plant throughout the growing season, increasing your overall Nitrogen efficiency. So, no matter what method of Nitrogen application you are using, treating it will provide long-lasting protection from volatilization and leaching. 


Plants need Phosphorus for pretty much all normal processes, helping the plant mature in a timely fashion, photosynthesis and many other functions. Phosphorus levels are key for the plant to be able to complete all stages of the production cycle. Phosphorus is very abundant in our prairie soils but 50-75% of the P is in an inorganic, non-plant available form. The other 25-50% is organic P, this P is transformed into plant available P through processes such as mineralization and immobilization. These processes occur in your soils naturally, but it does not supply enough P necessary for your crop. 

Treating your Phosphorus

Unlike Nitrogen, Phosphorus is not lost due to volatilization but by being fixated in the soil by other cations or (tied up). This fixation is caused by elements such as calcium, aluminum, iron which are positively charged and attract the negatively charged phosphorus ions. Phosphorus treatments work by reacting with these cations, in turn protecting the phosphorus from fixation. By treating your phosphorus, it protects your fertilizer from being fixated in the soil and allows your fertilizer to be almost 50% more plant available, ensuring your phosphorus is available for the plant when it needs it most.

At Synergy AG we want your fertilizer applications to be as efficient as possible. If you want to learn more about fertilizer treatment and your options, contact your local Synergy AG representative or agronomist today!


The Value of Soil Testing

As the cropping season comes to an end, it is right to look back and give kudos to every partner who worked hard these past months to ensure we continue to produce high-quality food and feed; every partner – from the resilient farmer and his patient family to the persistent input supplier and the meticulous agronomist. But perhaps in the community of farming partners, none worked harder than the ground on which our crops grew. The soil held, supplied, and recycled nutrients for plant growth, detoxified pollutants, retained water for use during the drier periods, and served as a firm structure for cropping and other agricultural activities. So, as we take stock and prepare for the next cropping season, finding out the current condition of this priceless partner is of utmost importance.

During a cropping season, several processes impact the soil nutrient status. These include crop nutrient uptake, run-off, and leaching. Over time, the soil nutrient reserve becomes depleted and will need to be replenished. Soil testing provides a way of knowing the level of this nutrient reserve as well as other soil properties affecting how nutrients are released. It is a tool that helps match fertilizer application to the needs of the crop while avoiding wastage and possible contamination of the environment. 

When To Do A Soil Test

Although soil testing just before spring seeding may provide results most closely related to conditions during seeding, fall is a great time for the activity. Soil testing in the fall allows ample time to sample soils, analyze them, examine the data, and make fertilizer plans. Besides, in late fall when soil temperature has dropped to below 10 ⁰C, soil microbial activity has slowed down, so there will be minimal change in nutrient levels between fall and the next spring. Soil testing can also be done anytime during the growing season to determine and correct nutrient deficiencies.

Without data you will have to guess your way through the growing season, and you will either be lucky or wrong. Soil testing can help you take the guesswork out of your fertilizer plans. With the advancement of technology, soil testing is becoming easier, faster, and more accurate. This is what we provide in our soil testing laboratory.  Our agronomists combine soil test results with their expertise and local knowledge to design a prescriptive fertilizer plan to increase the probability of achieving high-quality and high-yielding crops.  

At SynergyAG we treat soil as more than ‘dirt’, we recognize and respect that soil sustains life. Talk to your SynergyAG team about your soil testing needs.

-Ikenna Mbakwe, PhD, PAg
Director of Research

Fall Cleanup

Harvest is well on its way in most areas of the province, which means there may be time left to do some fall work in the field. Adverse weather conditions add additional obstacles to get through when it comes to making management decisions be the most efficient and profitable as the season closes. We all know that herbicide efficacy is largely based on temperature and the growing conditions that the plant is living in. With that being said, there is always a sweet spot where the optimal performance will occur, but there are also some warning signs we need to look out for in these later months of the growing season.

As night time temperatures continue to drop, it is critical that we are keeping our best management practices at the top of mind when it comes to fall burn off. If the nighttime lows are dropping below 0°C, make sure to consider these key points before an herbicide application: Duration of the frost, the severity of the frost, the weather leading up to the frost, and the target weed species. 

Duration, Severity, And Weather Leading Up To The Frost

When temperatures drop to -2 to -3 there is usually minimal plant damage. At this point, you could spray later that day as long as the temperature reaches 8°C and stays there for 2-4 hours after application. As temperatures dip below -5°C, you will start to see greater damage to plants. You should hold off spraying for a couple of days so that you can assess the damage that was caused by the frost and make a better decision on whether or not an herbicide application is necessary. If there is enough healthy tissue left to take up the herbicide (roughly more then 60%), and the temperature is going to get up to 10°C, you could consider spraying. If there is a heavy frost the night after you spray, you could also see reduced efficacy with the application.

Spraying when weeds are actively growing is the key to getting good control with a herbicide. With cooler temperatures drastically slowing down the metabolism of the plants, they will experience less efficient take-up of the chemical. This is especially important when applying a systemic herbicide like glyphosate. 

Target Weed Species

When you are deciding whether or not you want to do a fall herbicide application, it may be useful to take a look at what weeds you are aiming to kill. Fall is a great time to hit perennials, biennials, and winter annuals. These species can undergo a more severe frost event than germinating spring annuals. If an annual weed species looks like it will set seed before freeze up, it may be worthwhile to spray. 

Research shows that Kochia regrowing after a mid-August harvest will likely not set seed before a killing frost event. This is important to note when it comes to herbicide resistance. If you are planning on using glyphosate to kill the annual weeds, specifically Kochia, you might just be adding to the selection pressure and increasing your risk of developing resistance. 

Fall is a great time to do some groundwork and get your fields ready for spring. Always keep the best management practices in mind to help you get ahead of the game! 

Ergot In Cereal Crops

Touring through our cereals this time of year, we may run into black growths in place of a kernel. These ugly plumes are ergot bodies, or sclerotia: a plant disease caused by the Claviceps purpurea fungus. With growing years like this one, with a beautiful mixture of heat and moisture, our crops are thriving, but so are our diseases. The moisture promotes plant growth and flowering, as well as the germination of sclerotia. 

Disease Cycle: How does this work?

The first stage is germination of the sclerotia, which requires a cold period followed by wet soils in the spring. The sclerotia produce small, mushroom-like structures called stromata, which produce wind-borne spores. The wind-borne spores, also called ascospores, land on the florets and enter the ovaries of the early flowering plants.

The second stage is the “honeydew stage.” Here, the florets secrete a sticky ooze of spores called conidia, which are spread by rain and insects. They will continue to spread as long as flowering lasts. The honeydew stage ends once the ovary, or kernel, enlarged and is replaced by the ergot body.

What’s So Bad About It?

Although it doesn’t result in a significant yield loss, Ergot can result in economic loss. This is due to it being a major degrading factor in wheat and barley. In wheat and rye, only 0.04% is allowed in Number 1 grade, and even feed wheat has a low allowance of 0.10%. In barley, the tolerance is lower yet, at 0% for malt and 0.05% for feed. 

Ergot thresholds are this low, as the alkaloids in the ergot can cause ergotism when consumed by humans or livestock. In humans, ergotism can result in alternating burning and freezing sensations, death of extremities, and could even lead to death. In livestock, it can cause lameness, loss of body parts, abortions, seizures, and death. Sub-lethal doses will result in lower growth and performance, loss of milk production, and lack of appetite – all of which are recoverable.

How Can It Be Prevented?

Due to the economic losses ergot can cause, we want to do what we can to prevent this fungus. Ergot doesn’t have much for control methods in the field, however, there are management practices that can help. Your first line of defense against ergot is a crop rotation. The ergot only lives in the soil for one year, so a minimum of a two-year rotation is essential. Other things to keep in mind during seeding are avoiding planting a spring cereal next to a winter cereal crop, and ensuring a uniform plant stand by using seed with good germination, seeding at a constant depth, and using a balanced fertilizer program. Finally, use clean seed! Even two-year-old seed clean of ergot is less likely to spread the disease. Beyond seeding time, risk of ergot can be reduced by sanitizing by mowing around headlands and roadways to remove grasses and other possible hosts, and applying herbicide at the correct rate and timing.

If ergot is inevitable, one should harvest heavily infected areas separate from the rest of the field and deliver the infected seed separately to the elevator or destroy it. One can also clean the seed of ergot using a flotation gravity table, or a colour sorter. If you are concerned about ergot in your field, contact your SynergyAG representative to go over your risk levels. We are here to harness the synergy of your crop production and the environment for your agronomic success!

Karly Rumpel AAg


Canada Grain Commission. Ergot. 2019.

Government of Saskatchewan. Ergot of Cereals and Grasses.  ND.

Making Smart Harvest Marketing Decisions

Swathers, combines and grain carts have been pulled out of their hibernation.  There is a spattering of combines chewing up early crops already.  Harvest is just getting underway in parts of the prairies, and already grain marketing companies and media are estimating the cereal and oilseed harvest will be big.  Having a thought-out marketing plan is one of the first steps in establishing a profitable farm business.  Technology has allowed farmers to make marketing decisions on the go.  You don’t have to call the local elevator as they now post their bids, and there are services that can get a price up to 500 miles away.  Grain can can be sold online, or make hedging moves directly from a phone or tablet.  But what goes into making that “sell” decision?  

Cash Flow

There are several times during the year when farmers need a large influx of cash to cover expenses and debt.  It boils down to knowing what is needed for cash, and when it is needed.  During those parts of the year, managing the grain marketing plan to execute sales and receive cash will keep one alive.  This means setting a goal not only for the price of your grain, but also the point in time when you want to receive that cash from the sale.   Take into account the realities of the industry such as rail movement in the winter, or contracts that drag on.  If you can preplan cash flow needs, you will not be making reactive decisions. You will be making disciplined decisions that bring in revenue.  


Striking a balance between selling some grain at harvest and storing the rest is highly personalized.  Will you have excess storage or fall short?  Are you wanting to wait for higher prices in the future and using storage as a grain marketing strategy?  What happens if the price does not rally?  Will grain storage increase the speed of harvest by decreasing the time spent hauling and unloading grain?

Have you considered your costs for storing grain?  There are storage facility costs such as depreciation, return on investment, maintenance, and insurance.  Will there be extra drying, or aeration required?  What are your costs associated with moving the grain in and out of storage (labour, equipment, more craks/splits)?  Some hidden costs are the interest cost of having money tied up in stored grain inventory.  For example, you have a loan to pay that is accumulating interest, however, you aren’t satisfied with the grain price or can’t move the grain when you want to.

Margin Objective

Knowing cost of production is a useful base for forming a marketing plan.  Can you turn a profit at current prices?  What is the lowest price you can sell at and maintain profitability?  

Cost of production is taking into account your entire crop inputs as well as all other farm costs that go into the business of farming (fuel, depreciation, wages, land rent, power, administration, etc.).   Outlining the cost of production in the spring and then updating at harvest, when realistic yield estimates and inputs are understood, is important. Calculating and understanding your full cost of production helps take the emotion out of making the difficult “sell” decision.  

Incremental Sales

Hindsight is 20/20, and there will always be the fluctuation in grain markets throughout the growing season.  You may not always sell all of your grain at the market high, but realize that making incremental sales and building the best average price for your production over time equates to money in the bank.

Seasonality of Grain Marketing

This is associated to the growing season and is usually based on supply and demand.  During old crop months, when supply is typically lower, grain has a tendency to be priced higher than the farther out new-crop trading months.  When new crop is harvested, there is once again a higher level of supply.  This is why many of the grain markets tend to reflect their lowest seasonal prices during the new crop trading month. 

Know your marketing tools that are available to you, and what tools you should be using. This will help you achieve your price targets and sales deadlines. 

Considerations For Straight Cutting Canola

As we are coming into the harvest season here on the Western Canadian prairies, one of the questions that comes up frequently is whether or not to straight cut canola. Before we send our swathers to the auction block, there are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to straight cutting, and some of these decisions need to be made before pulling any harvest equipment into the field.


This decision is the first and probably the most important decision when it comes to straight cutting canola. Varieties that have Pod Shatter Reduction technology will hold up the best when straight cutting canola. This is the biggest factor when it comes to seed loss. The stand-ability of these varieties are usually much better. 

Disease Management

Once a straight cut variety is seeded, managing disease becomes the next most important detail. Diseases such as sclerotinia, blackleg, and clubroot can cause uneven maturity across the field, increase the potential for high amounts of pod drop, and shattering of pods. Management of these diseases can be controlled through crop rotation, variety selection, and fungicides.

Accessing Your Field

An ideal field for straight cutting is one that has a uniform canopy and that is well knit together. Fields that are not tend to have a higher risk of shattering loss. Ideal fields will have an even topography with minimal low spots. This will give the crop the most even maturity across the field.

When looking at the field, it’s important for a field to have a low population of weeds. The green matter from late emerging weeds can cause poor harvestability and can cause some dockage. Using a dry down product or a systemic herbicide is a great way to manage this.

Timing Your Crop 

When the pods are dry, and the seeds rattle in the pod when shaken, this is the ideal time to straight cut the canola.  Seed colour is ideally black to a dark brown, with less than 2% green count. Overall, moisture should be in the 10% or less range to prevent issues in the bin.

When it comes to straight cutting or swathing canola, there are many different factors that should be taken into consideration. The seed variety, managing disease, the topography of the field, and the timing of the crop are all important details to consider. Both methods are great options when it comes time to take the crop off the field.