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How to Choose the Best Canola Harvester

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Cut canola slightly below the seed pods. In heavy canola where it is leaning and the pods are "laced," straight combining will perform better. When canola is ready, it should be harvested right away. A possible substitute for harvesting winter canola is swathing.

Depending on the field topography and environmental conditions, canola harvester options can vary. Producers can choose from swathing, pushing, direct combining or cutting standing canola. Each of these methods can help producers control the harvest timing and efficiencies. The key is to plan ahead and make harvesting a productive operation.

Swathing is the most common method for canola harvesting in the northern Great Plains. The process involves two passes. One pass involves placing a swath on the stubble for seven to ten days. Once the seed moisture drops to about eight to ten percent, the swath is removed. The other pass involves cutting off the pods from the plant.

In the Great Plains, producers often apply a desiccant like diquat before swathing. This type of desiccant can help reduce the risk of seed shattering. It can also increase the greenness of the seed. Depending on the seed, the colour change may take a few days to a few weeks. The seed colour change is important, although the colour of the field may also play a role.

The combination of a low seeding rate and a fast curing period will increase the greenness of the seed. These two factors may result in an earlier harvest. This can help increase double cropping opportunities. The timing of a harvest also affects yield and quality. If a crop is cut too early, the seeds will not have time to mature. The best time to cut is when the seed is at about sixty percent of its colour change. Using this method allows producers to get the highest quality and the most yield.

Direct combining is another harvest method that can be used to manage efficiencies during harvest. This method involves using auger style headers. For this method, the speed should be 520 to 700 rpm. The reel should be set as far back over the grain table as possible. This will help the crop go through the combine harvester at the same speed as the ground. This is an effective way to harvest canola, but it does take more time.

When harvesting standing canola, it is important to cut below the seed pods. This will help reduce green material entering the combine. Also, this will help to ensure the highest oil quality. If the crop is cut too early, the seed can dry out quickly and shatter. Depending on the relative humidity, the damage may be minimal.

The optimum time to harvest a canola front crop is when the seed color changes from dark green to brown. This will allow the crop to fully ripen before combining. The colour of the seed is more important than the field colour, although some varieties will retain their green pod colour after the seed has turned brown.

Pushing canola is a newer harvest method that some farmers are considering. The process is similar to swathing, but the equipment is mounted on a bi-directional tractor. It is designed to push the canola over without pinching the stem. This method has been suggested as a faster alternative to swathing. This method has also been suggested as a way to reduce wind exposure.

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