Harvest time is a critical stage in canola cultivation. Untimely harvesting and inappropriate harvesting techniques can reduce both yield and quality. If canola is straight cut, a desiccant can be applied to facilitate the harvest operation. As noted in the previous blog, desiccation is a useful way to accelerate dry down of the crop and minimize harvest problems such as uneven ripening and crop lodging.
Canola must be desiccated at the correct stage to avoid locking in green seed. If fields have variable stages, the stage that will contribute most to total yield should be determined. Canola seeds mature in the bottom pods first, while seeds in the top pods mature last. When using diquat brands (e.g. Reglone Ion) application timing is after 90% of the seed on the entire plant has turned brown. Saflufenacil (Heat) has a labelled application rate of 60-75% brown seed, but recent recommendation is 80% brown seed. Applying desiccants earlier than recommended may result in higher green seed and reduced yields.
True desiccants are contact herbicides and rely heavily on penetration and canopy coverage. So higher water volumes and nozzles that provide good coverage maximize their performance. Note that If harvest is delayed following desiccation of canola, both pod drop and pod shatter may increase. So be prepared to combine as soon as seed moisture has reached suitable levels, which can happen in about 4 days, and no later than 14 days after application. Your SynergyAG rep will be happy to guide you every step of the way.
-Ikenna Mbakwe, PhD, PAg
Head of Research