Published on Thu, 06/15/2017 by BASF Canada

Drydown application ‘very important’ for straight-cutting canola

The trend of straight-cutting in canola has gained traction in recent years, particularly with farmers managing an increasing number of farm acres. A 2015 study from Ipsos found 74 percent of growers surveyed are interested in trying straight-cutting canola on their farm. Agronomists estimate that half of all canola acres will be harvested using straight-cutting by 2020.  

Those who do it, cite benefits of better management of acres, larger seeds, less green seed, reduced dockage compared to swathing, and improved weed control.

If you are planning to straight-cut, plan on using a pre-harvest herbicide.  

“A pre-harvest herbicide application can be very important for straight-cutting,” said Angela Brackenreed, agronomist with the Canola Council of Canada. “Something that is difficult for producers to get used to in straight-cutting is that the stalks can be very green. It can make it a little difficult to feed through the combine. A pre-harvest application can really facilitate that and make it easier to combine the canola.”

Jim Herder is a canola grower from Sylvan Lake, Alberta. He does straight-cutting to help with time management and clean fields. “We don’t have to worry about swathing it, and we do see a bit of a yield increase,” he said. “We use Heat LQ for our drydown and see a benefit. We didn’t have the green stuff – green little pods and leaves. We also didn’t see any shatter loss at all.”

Unlike a desiccant – which stops the maturity of the crop and can lock in green pods – an application of glyphosate tank-mixed with Heat LQ herbicide will dry down weeds while the crop continues to mature, making it easier to straight-cut while maximizing yield. Trials have shown that Heat LQ gives a greater, more uniform crop drydown of 8.33 percent compared to naturally-ripened or glyphosate-alone. Growers also saw better broadleaf weed control and an increased ease of combining on acres treated with Heat LQ.

Canola Council of Canada agronomists recommend applying a pre-harvest herbicide at 70-80 percent pod colour change to allow more fill time. Also harvest when the seed falls below two percent green content and is dry enough to store to prevent shatter loss.

Because canola is a large plant, apply your herbicide with at least 10 gal/ac of water to ensure good coverage that will get deep into the crop canopy.

Find more tips, research and resources for straight-cutting on the Canola Council of Canada’s website,


© 2017 BASF Canada Inc.