Increasing yield and profit by straight-cutting canola
Straight combining canola (Brassica napus) can save producers time, fuel costs, and equipment wear. Research was undertaken at three locations to determine if straight combining shatter losses would be reduced sufficiently with higher yield potential to make straight combining viable in western Canada. This research employed a randomized complete block design. Treatments included crop density (low and high), fertility (low and high), time of weed removal (early and late), and harvest time (early and late). Factors were selected to offer a range of yields to evaluate the relationship between potential yield and shatter loss. Different components of potential yield were important in determining yield and seed losses before and during harvest operations. In Lacombe, fertility has been the most important factor. In Vegreville, timing of weed removal was paramount in 2006. At Scott in 2006, it appears that all operations must be conducted under best management practices or there is a substantially increased probability of reduced yield when straight-cutting. These results generally fit the hypothesis that ability to straight-cut is dependent upon maximizing potential yield. Under higher-yielding conditions, a key factor has led to success at straight-cutting. Under low-yielding conditions, all factors contributing to increased potential yield must be used to ensure feasibility of straight-cutting.
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