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Agricultural News

Canola College Presents 'Fantastic Opportunity' for Growers, Sholar Says

Thu, 21 Mar 2013 15:22:01 CDT

Canola College Presents 'Fantastic Opportunity' for Growers, Sholar Says
Agricultural producers interested in learning how to maximize their canola production can register now to attend the March 28 Canola College in Enid.

"It's a fantastic opportunity to learn from and speak with leading experts in the field, and interact with more than 200 new or veteran canola producers and industry members," said Ron Sholar, Great Plains Canola Association (GPCA) executive director. "This will be the premier canola education and training event in the region for 2013."

Sholar will appear on this Saturday's "In the Field" segment with Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays. The segment will air about 6:40 a.m. Saturday morning on News 9. (You can hear a longer interview by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.)

Sholar just returned from Washington where he met with representatives of canola producers across the U.S. He said there is tremendous optimism about the canola industry right now.

"We have become the second leading producing area in the country here in the Great Plains, led by Oklahoma. And that's not going to change in the foreseeable future. There's tremendous potential for this crop."

He said that being a relatively young crop, canola isn't covered by crop insurance the way other crops are, but its availability is expanding. He said he expects the RMA to expand coverage past the ten counties now covered in Oklahoma by 2014.

Back in the Sooner state, Canola College will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Garfield County Fairground's Pavillion, located at 111 W. Purdue St. on the north side of Enid. There is no cost to attend. Registration is available online at http://www.canola.okstate.edu/ via Oklahoma State University's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

"We ask participants to pre-register as soon as possible because it greatly aids our planning and helps ensure that sufficient numbers of conference materials, refreshments and meals are on hand; lunch is being provided free-of-charge to participants," said Josh Bushong, OSU Cooperative Extension canola specialist.

Canola College is a joint effort of the division, GPCA, Kansas State University and cooperating partners in the canola industry.

"If properly managed, canola can yield as many bushels as wheat in this area, and given current market prices, it becomes obvious that canola has great potential to yield higher returns than wheat," Bushong said. "Canola provides other benefits as well."

OSU data suggest that wheat following canola in a crop rotation can increase wheat forage by 20 percent and wheat tillers by 32 percent, both of which would favor stocker cattle operations. OSU data also suggest that wheat following canola can increase wheat grain yields by 10 percent to 15 percent.

"Utilizing canola - a winter annual broadleaf crop - as a weed management tool has been one of the main reasons wheat producers have adopted the crop," Bushong said. "Data from several wheat farms in central Oklahoma indicated that rotating to canola for one year reduced wheat dockage an average of 85 percent and practically eliminated foreign material in the wheat."

Canola acreage for the region has increased dramatically since 2010. Estimates indicate there are approximately 275,000 acres planted in the southern Great Plains states this year.

Conference breakout sessions will focus on practical tips for getting started right when growing canola, a perspective from experienced growers on how to enhance canola operations, benefits provided by using wheat and canola in a crop rotation, insect control, weed control and harvest management. Sessions will be led by university and industry experts.

"Canola has made me a better farmer, not only for canola but for my wheat," said Jeff Scott, GPCA president and a Grant County producer. "You have to go where the money is, and canola is a crop that has turned around my operation."

Anyone seeking additional information about the March 28 Canola College should contact Bushong by email at josh.bushong@okstate.edu or by phone at 405-744-9600, or Sholar by email at jrsholar@aol.com or by phone at 405-780-0113.



Ron Hays talks with Ron Sholar about the upcoming Canola College.
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