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Swathing tips

say the weather this season has been extraordinary would be an
understatement. The virtually non-stop rain that made spring seeding
difficult is now making harvest a challenge. It’s not hard to find lodged crops in fields. Getting them swathed will test the limits of

the last issue of Grainews, Lyndsey Smith had a great article on how
to fine tune swathing operations. But if you’re looking for even more

on the topic, The Canola Council of Canada’s Canola Watch 19
newsletter is worth reading. Jay Whetter, The Council’s communications
manager and editor of the Canola Watch (and former Grainews editor), forwarded a copy to me. Below
is an excerpt from it on how to set up your swather to maximize its
performance in lodged canola.

to set a swather for lodged crop

have lots of lodged canola this year, including some crops so flat
you can walk on them. The challenge is how to swath these crops to
make combining as fast and easy as possible. Here’s how to set the
swather for better results:

reel arms so the reel is out front of the cutterbar.

That way the reel picks up the crop before the cutterbar hits the
stem, providing a cleaner cut and putting more of the crop in the

windrow. This is particularly useful when swathing canola that’s
leaning away from the cutterbar.

the reel teeth so they cup slightly
which improves the lifting action.

the table forward.

This steeper pitch helps improve the windrow shape as plants roll off
the draper.

the swath opening as wide as possible

to accommodate bushier canola swaths.

end dividers to work properly in canola.

Traveling up the field at a different angle can help reduce bunching
and plugging at the dividers, but the best solution is to invest in a
power divider that mechanically cuts the crop.


with faster draper speeds.
The key with lodged crop, which tends to be messier when it hits the
draper, is to clear the table as fast as possible to limit bunch ups.

Modern swathers have many of these controls on the joystick. Talk to
the dealership if you have questions about settings specific to your

for the occasional mound

— “beaver house” — of bunched canola in the windrow.
Straighten these out with a pitchfork the day you swath so the canola
cures more evenly and you don’t have to go back another day to prep
the field for combining”

you’d like more information on cutting canola or about the Canola
Watch publication, contact Jay at

[email protected]
or 807-468-4006.

luck with harvest.


About the author


Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.



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