As the popularity of canola rises, in part due to its role as a feedstock for biodiesel, extension representatives from Kansas State University offer some tips to encourage growing the golden crop during winter rotations.
Mike Stamm, a canola breeder and associate agronomist at Kansas State University, said about 80 percent of the canola oil consumed in the United States is imported, so it makes sense for farmers in the southern Great Plains to grow more winter canola.
“One of the reasons why we’re encouraging farmers to grow winter canola is that the same equipment used for wheat production can also be used for winter canola,” Stamm said.
Canola makes an excellent rotational crop with winter wheat, he said, because different classes of herbicide used to control weeds in winter canola also control weeds that can be troublesome for winter wheat. The roots of a canola plant can draw nutrients and water that are deep in the soil up to the surface that often times wheat roots can’t reach.
Seeds within canola pods are small, but their value is not. Each 2 millimeter (mm) diameter seed is about 40 percent oil. With a current futures price for the 2014 crop around $11.35 per bushel, canola is looking profitable for the coming year, Stamm said.
Stamm goes on to offer some tips on crop insurance, selecting the right cultivar and site, planting timing and methods, and soil, weed, insect and disease management.