Canola School: It’s time to start thinking about harvest loss management

As canola fields start to turn yellow, It may feel like it’s a long time away, but weknow all too well, harvest comes very quickly.

And with harvest, comes harvest loss management.

After a season full of nurturing crops to get the best possible outcome, we don’t always realize how much of the final product we are actually losing.

In this Canola School episode filmed at CanolaPalooza near Saskatoon, we talk with Nathan Gregg, program manager of Applied Agriculture Services at Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) in Humboldt, Saskatchewan about how to manage harvest loss.

Gregg says that after a long season of hard work and effort, it’s important you know what your losses are so you can get as much of your crop into the bin as possible. When asked what the average amount of loss, he says there is always a large range of numbers that come out each year.

“I’ve worked with producers who have done combine testing and you go out, they’ve done their homework, and they’ve checked and they are at an acceptable amount of loss — in that one to two per cent range – which depending on the yield, works out somewhere to that half – a bushel or two loss. Unfortunately I’ve also worked with farmers where it’s been all the way up to 15 bushels an acre.”

Gregg notes it’s often an issue where producers were unaware they are losing so much, noting “when you prove that loss to them and show it to them, then they are changing it up and thinking about all the acres they harvested that way.”

He says the first, and most important step, is to actually get off your combine and to check for yourself what your losses are.

“It doesn’t matter what format. I can tell you good methods to do it, I can tell you better methods to do it, and I can tell you the best type of thing. But I can also tell you that checking and getting out of your seat is the first step. Some people are resistant – and we all are – it’s easy to stay in the air-conditioned cab where it’s calm,” he chuckles. “It’s a lot easier to go, ‘nah that feels right’. Too many people sometimes I think rely on the loss monitor in the combine. It’s a tool – but it’s no good unless you calibrate it, validate it, and really crown truth it to say ‘this is what this loss level means’. The message I want to put out is ‘check – in any way you can.'”

To learn more about harvest loss management, check out the video below, filmed at CanolaPalooza near Saskatoon on June 20th, 2017:

Canola School: Harvest Management — It’s Not All or Nothing

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