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Level II Agricultural Business Operations. 2  Crops should be harvested when: ◦ they have achieved the optimum yield. ◦ the crop is at the correct stage.

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Presentation on theme: "Level II Agricultural Business Operations. 2  Crops should be harvested when: ◦ they have achieved the optimum yield. ◦ the crop is at the correct stage."— Presentation transcript:

1 Level II Agricultural Business Operations

2 2  Crops should be harvested when: ◦ they have achieved the optimum yield. ◦ the crop is at the correct stage for harvesting. ◦ weather and soil conditions are suitable. ◦ suitable storage facilities are available or ◦ You have a market for the crop.

3 3  Assessing ripeness ◦ Visual appearance of the crop – no green ◦ Hardness of the grain

4 4  The crop is ripe when: ◦ In Barley, the ears are bent downwards instead of standing erect. ◦ In all Cereals the grains are easily separated from the ear by rubbing them between your hands. Individual grains are hard – not easily marked with your finger nail.

5 5  Ideally grain should have a moisture content below 20% when harvested.  In Northern Ireland this is usually not feasible.  Do not delay harvest in order to achieve a MC below 20% if other conditions are right. When MC is above 20%, grain drying or another method of storage can be used.

6 6  Timing of harvesting can be affected by: ◦ Crop type and variety – barley, wheat, oats. ◦ Weeds in the crop -delays drying ◦ Lodging - delays ripening & drying. ◦ Uneven growth - uneven ripening

7  Where Cereal crops require desiccation, this should be carried out when the majority of the crop is at or below 30% moisture (Hard Dough Stage (Growth Stage 87)  Aim to harvest in 10 – 14 days to avoid grain loss from the head.

8  Allows earlier harvest than combining  Contractors more available at desired harvest time  Harvest is less weather dependant  Suits storage available  Lower contractor costs  Earlier sowing of following crop  Spreads workload if growing lots of late to harvest crops i.e. wheat & spring crops

9  Straw not available for bedding/feeding/sale  More difficult to value crop produced/ crop often undervalued  More difficult to market  Forage quality variable depending on time of cutting  Requires specialist machinery  Less information available on feeding/ harvest timing

10  Easier to value produce output  Potential to realise higher gross margin than wholecrop harvested wheat  Straw available for bedding/sale/ feeding separately  More marketing outlets/ options  Spreads workload if growing other combinable crops

11  Later to harvest than wholecrop  May delay following operations  Reliant on good weather for harvest and to bale straw  Requires specialist machinery  Contractor charges more expensive

12 12  Ripens over a period of time.  Pods lower down the stem ripen first.  The difference could be 2 weeks.  Pods are ripe when the seeds are dark brown or black.  Ripe pods may shatter & shed their seed before other pods are ready.  Pre harvest treatment to ensure all pods ripen at the same time.

13 13  Check the crop regularly once it begins to turn yellow to tan.  Check the lower pods, the middle pods and the upper pods on the main stem.  If you wait too long the lower pods will shatter and shed their seed.  If you harvest too early oil quality will suffer.

14 14  Two methods to ensure even ripening: 1.Swathing  Cut the crop leaving it in a windrow with a 25cm stubble.  Crop is left for about 1 week in dry conditions before lifting. 2.Desiccation  Spray with Diquat (Reglone), Glufosinate Ammonium (Harvest) or Glyphosate (Roundup)at the stage shown (next slide).  Seed shedding can be severe in windy conditions.

15 15  Desiccate when seeds in the: ◦ Lower pods are dark brown or black. ◦ Middle pods are reddish brown to dark brown. ◦ Upper pods are green to reddish brown

16 16  In NI desiccation is the usual pre harvest treatment.  Can lead to high seed loss due to pod shattering by the tractor and sprayer.  This results in many volunteer plants over the next years.  Can use “pod sticker” to help reduce shatter.

17  Oilseed Rape must be dried to 9% Moisture as soon as possible after harvest.  Small seed size leads to low airflow through the stored crop, which if moist leads to rapid heating and spoilage.  Ensure Combine grain tank, trailers and stores are well sealed to avoid loss.

18 18 Normally combined in Late September/Early October. Dessication may be necessary on weedy crops or crops with late set pods. Little effect on moisture. MC should be 20% or less. If MC is low shattering can occur.

19 19  Pods should be black and seeds hard.  Combine settings must be adjusted to avoid cracking the seed.  Crop should be dried to a max. of 14% MC and cooled to 10°C.

20 20  Losses can be high due to ear and seed loss if: ◦ Harvest is delayed beyond the ripe stage. ◦ Stormy weather occurs at harvesting. ◦ Crop is badly lodged. ◦ Combine is not set up properly. ◦ Crop is attacked by birds. ◦ Spillage

21 Know what you have harvested Manage what you have stored Know what you are selling

22 Moisture Content Hectolitre Weight Moulds Admixture Odours


24 Aim to dry harvested crop as soon as possible Prioritise crops over 18%mc Temperature should not exceed 60 o C for milling Oats Dry to 14%mc unless otherwise specified

25  Prepare store BEFORE HARVEST!!! -Thoroughly clean store & equipment ◦ using an industrial vacuum -Check store fabric and repair as ◦ needed 

26 -Monitor insect pests using traps -If persistent or widespread, treat fabric of building using approved products -Monitor grain temperature, moisture and pests in store weekly

27 Clean Dry Well Ventilated Shatter proof cover for lights & shatter resistant bulbs Correctly functioning equipment  Proofed against rodent & bird entry Watertight roof (no leaks or broken guttering) No physical contaminants Secure

28  Monitor & adjust combine settings as needed  Sample & check grain to get an accurate picture of what you have  Prioritise grain over 18%mc for drying  Ensure store is clean before loading  Monitor stores weekly for temperature, moisture & pests

29  Where heating is detected used Pedestals to ventilate & cool grain.  OR  Spread thinly on the shed floor and turn regularly.


31  Potato harvesting can occur from early June to end of October depending on the variety and crop use. ◦ Jun – Jul for earlies ◦ Jul – Aug for second earlies ◦ Aug – Sep for seed ◦ Sep – Oct for maincrop.

32  Harvest when: ◦ The crop has reached its optimum yield. ◦ Crop can be harvested with minimum damage  Skins set  Soil & weather conditions suit. ◦ Market conditions are favourable or suitable storage is available.

33  Dig samples. ◦ Must be a representative sample  1m length of row from 4 or 5 different places selected at random. ◦ Sort by tuber size and weigh.  Destroy the tops when the crop has reached optimum size and yield.  Leave 2 – 3 weeks and check again for skin set.

34  Damage caused during harvesting can lead to high losses.  Immature tubers and tubers whose skins have not set are most readily damaged. ◦ Skins scuff & tubers bruise or split. ◦ Disease organisms can gain entry to the tubers.  Top growth must be stopped and tubers left for 2 – 3 weeks to allow skins to set.

35 1. Natural senescence ◦ Wait for tops to die naturally. ◦ May delay harvesting. ◦ Increases risk of tuber blight. 2. Haulm flailing ◦ Tops removed by mechanical flails. ◦ Tubers near the ridge surface can be damaged. ◦ Can lead to increased tuber blight.

36 3. Haulm desiccation ◦ Tops destroyed by herbicide. ◦ Some herbicides may cause tuber damage in certain situations. ◦ Dense foliage may not be killed by a single application. ◦ Reduces risk of blight moving from foliage to tubers at the end of the season. ◦ Kills weeds prior to harvesting.

37  Potatoes lifted in low temperatures (>8°C) are: ◦ Prone to damage. ◦ Susceptible to tuber diseases.  Lifting potatoes in wet conditions leads to: ◦ High risk of tuber blight infection. ◦ High risk of soft rotting in store. ◦ Excessive soil in store hindering ventilation.  Wet potatoes must be dried prior to storage.

38 Diabl o Skinned on rollers Scuffed on web Bruise d by drop Sliced by share Disc Scrubbers Web Trash extracto rs Cross conveyor Agitators Share Bruised by bounce & roll-back

39 Bruise d by drop Scuffed by roll back Elevator Goose neck Bruise d by drop Cross conveyo r

40 Diablo Share Disc

41  Surface of tubers should be dry. ◦ Blow air through potatoes that are wet.  Remove as much soil as possible.  Allow curing period to heal wounds. ◦ Warm conditions (14°C ) for 10 days.  Fungicides can be applied to control disease. ◦ Thiabendazole controls gangrene, dry rot and skin-spot.

42  Must be clean, all residues from previous crop removed, and store disinfected.  Should be insulated to avoid frost damage.  Well ventilated. ◦ Natural ventilation ◦ Forced draught ◦ Refrigerated

43 Bulk store with underground ducts Box store with letterbox ducts Box store with under floor ducts Bulk store with above ground ducts

44  Load bulk stores carefully to: ◦ Avoid soil cones ◦ Achieve a level surface on pile ◦ Reduce damage due to drops and roll back.  Reduce temperature to prevent sprouting (<4°C).  Apply sprout suppressant if necessary  Control vermin.

45  Main problems: ◦ Soft rots due to:  Tuber blight  Bacterial soft rot – (Erwinia) ◦ Other rots due to:  Gangrene  Dry rot ◦ Tuber skin blemishes due to:  Silver scurf  Skin spot

46  Tuber surface must be dry at storage.  Potatoes should be ‘cured’ for 14 days.  Store temperature should be reduced to 2- 4°C (except for potatoes for processing).  Good ventilation required to achieve uniform temperature and keep tubers dry.  Tubers may be treated with fungicide.

47  Clean  Dry  Free from dust  Rodent proof  Temperature monitored  Humidity monitored  Temperature between 3 o C and 6 o C  Secure  Insulated  Dark

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