Canola Crop Getting Along Well, Canola College On Tap, Ron Sholar SaysMon, 27 Jan 2014 12:06:06 CST
As falling temperatures plunge Oklahoma back into the deep freeze, Ron Sholar, executive director of the Great Plains Canola Association, said it's nothing for canola producers to worry about. He spoke recently with Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays about how this year's crop is doing, how the industry has progressed in such a short time, and the upcoming Canola College event. (You can listen to the full interview by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.)
"We got a lot of canola planted last fall, most of it at the right time," Sholar said. "We've got a little bit of the crop in a little bit late. It's kind of a wait and see kind of a thing on the very-late planted. It's probably not going to fare as well as that that was planted right on time. Everything's very dormant right now. A lot of first-time growers are wondering what's going on, but this is very normal. The crop goes into a state of dormancy; it is not dead. And, when those spring conditions return, we'll look forward to the crop looking good once again."
The crop is weathering over in good shape, he said, in large measure due to adequate moisture last fall.
"There's no doubt that water is the plant's antifreeze. When we have these cold, dry winters that is much, much worse than cold, wetter winters and we did have some moisture last fall so that's a very good thing."
Sholar said he believes about 300,000 acres were planted to canola across Oklahoma this year. Kansas, Texas and Colorado will count for an additional 100,000 acres. He said that Oklahoma growers have gone from about 40,000 acres to more than 300,000 in less than ten years.
Canola is proving itself to be a good, consistent rotation crop for the state's wheat farmers. He said farmers west of I-35 have tried soybeans and corn in rotation with their wheat, but conditions have been such that predictable profits from those crops has proven elusive. So far, canola has proven to be a great fit, Sholar said. Prices for canola have dropped somewhat in the last 18 months, but they have still provided a spread above wheat prices.
For producers considering taking the leap into canola, or for those who have been growing it for several years, Sholar says an upcoming event will help both. Canola College is scheduled for February 13th at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center in Enid. It is the second year of the Canola College program.
Sholar said it will cover the basics of canola production for those who may be just thinking about adding canola to their rotations as well as advanced techniques for those who have cultivated the crop for several years and want to squeeze an extra ten bushels per acre out of their management system. Canola College will also discuss weed and insect controls and will talk about harvest management and residue management.
"We bill this event as the premiere educational-training canola event in the region for this year. We'll have other events, but none that will be kind of roll up your sleeves and learn about canola, both basic and advanced. There's nothing to compare to this event," Sholar said.
Canola College will also feature a trade show highlighting the technologies and services which are vital to establishing a profitable enterprise.
More information and registration for Canola College is available at http://canola.okstate.edu/.
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