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Agricultural News

Canola Acreage and Crop Condition Vastly Better than Last Year, Sanders Says

Mon, 11 Nov 2013 14:53:42 CST

Canola Acreage and Crop Condition Vastly Better than Last Year, Sanders Says
With a hard freeze expected across most of Oklahoma in the next day or two, the canola crop will be entering its dormant phase. Heath Sanders of the Great Plains Canola Association says the crop looks much better prepared for inclement weather this year and, overall, canola acres are expected to be way up.

Planting season started out dry in September, but rains toward the latter end of the planting window really got things off to a good start.

"With the weather we've been having we're getting some size on it, we're getting some leaves on these plants. And, of course, the canola that got off on a good start is getting pretty good sized now and the brakes will be put on that pretty quick. So, all in all, from what I've gathered and what I've driven across the state, we're in so much better shape than last year. It's just a sigh of relief that we're setting ourselves up for a good opportunity to make a good crop this next spring."

The condition of the crop so far is fairly good, Sanders says, even in the southwest which is still very dry.

"I've seen some canola fields that look really good down there and I've seen some stands and some fields that were a little bit smaller.   And as you get further southwest, you get more erratic rainfalls. You get a little bit further north and it's a little bit more widespread, but it kind of depends on where you're at in southwest Oklahoma. We've got a mixed bag. We've got some smaller canola, we've got some bigger canola. The big thing now is we do have more moisture than we had last year so we've got some smaller plants, maybe, in some of these fields, but they do have some moisture under them and that helps buffer that temperature and keep that plant healthier even if it is smaller."

With the lack of moisture for planting last year, it was a race to get the crop established with sufficient foliage above ground before the season's first hard freeze. This year, Sanders says, the situation is a little different.

"This year with the amount of rain that we've gotten, for the most part, the canola looks pretty good. Is it perfect? Probably not, but it's so much better that what we experienced last year that there's a lot of farmers out there who are pretty proud of their canola right now."

Sanders says the numbers are still being tallied, but it looks like there will be a significant jump in canola acreage this year over last year's mark of about 250,000 acres.

"For Oklahoma, we're looking at a good 300,000. And for the region, the Southern Great Plains, we're thinking maybe around a good 400,000.

"There was a big move in southern Kansas of putting more acres in. There's a lot more acres up in southern Kansas this year. So we've definitely got more acres than we had last year. And we've got better conditions and we've got guys off to the right start this year."

Sanders says he thinks this year's acreage may have been even higher, but written agreements from the Risk Management Agency didn't make it back in time for some growers to get insured due to the government shutdown. He said that growers who want to be covered next year in counties that require written agreements need to get started early on their paperwork to avoid such problems until the RMA can approve more counties for regular crop insurance.


What a difference a year makes. Heath Sanders talks to Ron Hays about this year's canola crop.
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