Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Canola, Part 2

On July 18 I did a post about canola blooming, showing my friend M. up to her chin in blooming canola.  Within a week or two of that post, the yellow blossoms were gone and the canola fields turned green.  Sometime last week the outer edge of this canola field just across the road from our place was swathed.  It's usual to swath the edge of a field sometime ahead of processing the whole field.  When the farmer thinks the field is about ripe, he will swath the outer edge.  That gives the equipment room to move around the field, and also tells him if, indeed, the crop is ready.

Canola is one crop that is usually swathed completely some time ahead of combining. It remains on the field in swathed rows and finishes the ripening process.

Here is a close up of the canola in the swath.  Those long skinny pods contain the canola seeds.

Two fellows started swathing this field sometime shortly after noon today.  I grabbed my camera and ran out to get a video of the swather in motion to give you a notion of how this works.  Unfortunately the swather was heading away from me, and the far edge of this field is a half mile away, so I gave up for the time being.

Just a half hour ago I heard the swathers approaching this end of the field, so again I grabbed my camera and ran out to video a swather in motion.  I was able to get a great video of the two swathers meeting and shutting down for the supper hour.  Unfortunately, the video won't upload to the blog.  I get a window saying, sorry, there was an error in uploading your video.  No dice!

So instead you get a still of one swather approaching.  This front end is called a "reel."  It has fingers that pull the stalks of grain toward the knives.  It cuts the canola off the stem about a foot or so off the ground, and lays it down in the neat swath in the first picture.  In this photo you can see the canola stalks sticking up in the foreground.  These are very stiff and if you walk through them, they will give you many, painful scratches.

This canola was seeded at 5 pounds to the acre and is coming in at an estimated 2500 pounds to the acre.  Isn't that amazing!  This particular field is about 100 acres.

Sometime later the combine will go through the field and separate the canola  grains from the pods and stalks.  Here's a picture of the grains, with a few bits of pods left in.  They are tiny black grains.

You'd never guess when you buy a bottle of yellow canola oil that it came from this, would you?

We're hoping this hot, sunny weather holds for the harvest time.  It's perfect for getting the crops ripened and off the fields.

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