If you’re waiting for green seed counts to drop before combining canola, or if you have canola with high green seed counts sitting in a bin, quick action may be your best financial move at this stage of the season.

Growers waiting for green seed levels to drop before combining should weigh the risks. If the crop does happen to get enough rain and high humidity to lift canola moisture back above 20% to restart the green-clearing process, will that canola ever dry back down enough to harvest before winter arrives? With the long cool nights of October, this becomes less likely.

“The best bet would be to harvest the crop now to maintain the yield and quality that’s there, and start looking for buyers,” says Kristen Phillips, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada. “Early delivery is ideal because canola with a higher percentage of green seeds tends to spoil faster.”

Typically, the discounts for high green are not as high as the discounts for heated canola. Click here for a list of companies that buy canola downgraded due to green seed or heat damage.

The risk of snow also increases with each passing day that canola stays out in the field. Snow could delay harvest until next spring.

“If canola stays in the field all winter, high green seed counts won’t be your only quality issue,” Phillips says.

When canola overwinters in the swath, molds build up on the seed, free fatty acids build up in the oil, overall bushel weight drops, and yield loss results from shelling and rodent feeding. The result is lower yield and downgrading, often to “sample.”

Growers who have combined canola with high green seed counts but have not delivered are reminded to check their bins thoroughly and frequently. This may require moving some grain to ensure any pockets starting to heat from higher moisture or green seed are identified right away. Even if stored dry, canola with high green counts has a higher risk of spoilage.