Harvest and postharvest

All varieties of coriander must be harvested when the seeds are light brown to brown and the plant stems are brown and starting to become dry. Open-front headers are recommended. Crop losses by seed head shattering can occur if growers wait until stems are completely dry. Windrowing has been used but the windrows must be heavy and left to lie deep in the stalks otherwise wind can move them across the field. Dessication has not been used with success. Dryland yields of 1-1.5 mt/ha are common and two to three mt/ha when irrigated. Rainfall areas below 400 mm usually yield 750-1000 kg/ha.

As most coriander seed is used for crushing it should be harvested free of stones, soil and other unmillable contaminants. Once cleaned it should have a minimum purity of 99% to satisfy the majority of buyers. Packaging is usually 25 kg nett polypropylene sacks.

Buyers value light-brown seed above brown, and seed blackened by rain at harvest is of very low value in the market. Within Australia and in certain overseas markets seed must be tested free of salmonella, E.-coli, aflatoxin and coliform bacteria. Some in Australia want freedom from wheat or allergenic compounds. Seed sold for fresh leaf production must meet the purity and germination requirements of the buyer.

Fenugreek is ready for harvest when the long curved pods are brown and just starting to become brittle. Crop lifters will be useful if the crop is tangled and has lodged. Mature pods after rain can shatter and an open-front header is best. Pods thresh quite easily and seed should not be overthreshed. Dryland yields range from 1.0 to 1.5 mt/ha and have been as high as 3m t/ha. Little is grown under irrigation.

Colour is critical for marketing and seed should have an even light-tan colour, with no dark or shrivelled seeds. Cleaning into polypropylene sacks either 40 kg nett or 25 kg nett is usual. Again, as for coriander, the majority of seed is crushed so must be free of unmillable material and can need to test negative for the pathogens listed.

Seed for sowing must comply with buyer requirements for purity and germination.

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