NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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September 20 Agriculture Column


This weather just won’t give up.  It looks like rain again even though no rain is in the forecast.  There is still quite a bit of small grains left in the northern and northeastern part of the county.  The weather just will not give them a break and when it does and gets just about ready again the next weather system drops small amounts of rain to keep the grain higher in moisture content.  The same holds true in Canola.  The moisture just will not get to the dry point.  The GDD’s for the southern third of the county now stands at 2064 while the northern tier of the county is in the 1800’s to mid 1900 GDD’s .    

Late Fall Winter Wheat Planting Recommendations - With a wet start to September, questions are starting to arise about how late winter wheat can be planted in North Dakota. The answer depends on many factors that need to be weighed by individual producers. A producer’s last possible plant date is going to depend on the fields stubble height and condition, soil moisture, temperatures, plant variety, and winter snow conditions among other factors. The NDSU Extension Services recommends that winter wheat be planted September 10-30 in southern regions of the state and by September 1-15 in northern regions of the state. These planting dates aren’t always practical with untimely rains delaying harvest and associated time constraints. Below are some recommendations for if winter wheat cannot be planted during the early September dates.  First, if at all possible, producers should strive to plant winter wheat crops by the end of September. Make sure that a majority of the previous crop stubble is standing after seeding if planting at the end of September.  Depending on weather conditions you can plant into the first week of October but you must have excellent stubble conditions and plant a winter hardy variety.  Second, the recommended seeding depth is 1 to 1.5 inches, but as you go later into September, decrease the seeding depth (3/4 or 1 inch), but don’t go any shallower than ¾ inch.  Also, consider increasing the seeding rate by 20-25%.  If you would normally plant 1.2 million PLS/acre, increase the seeding rate to 1.4 or 1.5 million PLS/acre.  Apply phosphorus fertilizer with the seed to help with winter survival.  Applying a seed treatment may be beneficial for late seeded winter wheat.Remember to break the green bridge to reduce the spread of the Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus.  A preplant roundup application is critical in reducing any weed and volunteer grain growth.  This is the host for the curl mite and can be very devastating to your crop next spring as there is not an insecticide that will satisfactorily get the curl mite.

Drying and Storing Canola

Harvesting canola at the proper stage is important. The color of the seed will not change during drying and storage and canola is severely discounted at market if more than 2% of the seed is green. Canola must be exposed to sunlight for the color change to occur.

Recommended moisture content of canola seed is 10% for short term (over winter) and 8% for longer term storage. Allowable storage times for canola can be pulled from a chart for cereal grains by subtracting 5 percentage points from cereal grain moisture content. For example, the allowable storage time of 18% moisture wheat at 60 degrees F. is about 50 days, so the allowable storage time for 13% moisture canola at 60 degrees F. is also about 50 days.

Storage management of canola, including aeration, is critical. Heating in storage lowers protein quality and increases the amount of free fatty acid, greatly reducing canola's value.

Canola reportedly goes through a "sweat" during the first month of storage, so aeration and frequent monitoring during this period are very important. Canola should be aerated shortly after storage, then cooled whenever average outdoor temperatures are 10-15 degrees cooler than the canola.

Temperatures need to be limited during high temperature drying. At moisture contents up to 12%, a drying temperature of 180 degrees F. can be used with dryers that mix the seed as it's dried. Over 12% moisture, the dryer temperature needs to be limited to 160 degrees F., even with mixing in the dryer. Without mixing the dryer temperature needs to be limited to 140 degrees F.

Natural air/low temperature drying with an airflow rate of .75 cubic feet per minute per bushel will dry canola at initial moisture contents up to 12%, and a rate of 1 cubic foot per minute per bushel permits drying canola at up to 13% moisture.

Higher airflow rates are not economical because of the large resistance to airflow of canola seed. Resistance to airflow through Argentine canola is about twice that of wheat. The static pressure required to move air through the Polish type canola is somewhat greater than through the Argentine type. Most of our canola is Argentine.

Canola is expected to dry to acceptable storage moisture contents using natural air drying during September and October. Supplemental heat may be added if canola does not reach the recommended storage moisture content with natural air drying. The equilibrium moisture content is similar to that of oil sunflower.

Do not warm the air more than 5 degrees F. or the canola will be over-dried. The estimated drying time using an airflow rate of 1 cubic foot per minute per bushel is about 30 days; at the .75 cubic foot rate drying time is about 40 days.


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