Canola School: Pre-harvest options for your canola crop

It’s the time of year when many producers are thinking about swathing, or looking forward to desiccating and straight cutting their canola crop.

Two of the more common options for dry downs on your crop are glyphosate, a slower process but great for cleaning up fields; and diquat, the active ingredient in most registered desiccants.

Since diquat is a contact herbicide, using plenty of water is important.

“You want to make sure that you are using at least 20 gallons an acre of water,” explains Canola Council of Canada agronomist Brittany Hennig. “Especially with this really thick crop, you need to make sure it contacts everything. So really enforce the water volume on that.”

The other important part to using a desiccant is to make sure the plant has hit maturity before you spray.

“We want the whole plant to be at 90 per cent colour change. Desiccants aren’t going to help the maturity, they are only going to kill the plant. So when you spray it you want to harvest it – at the maximum – in 14 days,” notes Hennig. “You don’t want to leave it any longer than that, because then it’s prone to shattering.”

If you are looking at using a herbicide such as glyphosate, Hennig recommends to not harvest your crop for two to three weeks afterwards, depending on the weather conditions. She adds spray timing is often around the same time you’d consider swathing the crop.

To find out more about pre-harvest options, check out this Canola School episode filmed near Mossleigh, AB: