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Agricultural News

Canola Crop Condition Reports Misleading, Sholar Says; 'Ugly is not Poor'

Wed, 26 Mar 2014 15:10:10 CDT

Canola Crop Condition Reports Misleading, Sholar Says; 'Ugly is not Poor'
The latest Oklahoma Crop Progress and Condition report lists 61 percent of the state's canola crop in poor or very poor condition. Ron Sholar with the Oklahoma Oilseed Commission and the Great Plains Canola Association tells Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays those USDA numbers could be a little misleading. He said he just came back from a field tour and with the exception of southwestern Oklahoma, the crop does not reflect the story told by the USDA figures.

"It's sort of a good-news, bad news story. The good fields look great. Not just good, but great. Now, southwest Oklahoma's a different story. You kind of take I-40 north and the northern part of the state looks really good-good stands. It's just coming out of dormancy. It's just beginning to bolt, extend that growing point. The problem is we're short of moisture everywhere. And just how long we're going to be able to hold this good crop condition without moisture remains to be seen. "

Sholar said the crop's progress is running about three weeks behind the last two years when blooms were beginning to show by this time. He said compared to that, the crop does look worse than last year, but that's not the whole story.

"Here's the truth of the matter: We've been looking at the crop reports and, actually, we've had a lot of internal and external conversations. What observers have to understand is that ugly is not poor. When the crop was in its winter status, kind of hanging out out there, there's still photosynthesis going on. The crop never really goes completely dormant unless we just get obliterated by a horrible winter which did not happen as bad as it was. There's still green material out there. It's still photosynthesizing, just hanging out, then it begins its reproductive phase.   But all winter long these plants have had that old Fall growth that browned down and is still hanging on. It's going away right now. It's sloughing off.

"I think what we've seen, Ron, as folks looked at these fields and called it poor conditions, they weren't poor; it's ugly. There's a difference. They may be the same sometimes, but not necessarily. So what we understand from this is we still have a lot of education work to do. I will tell you we have not been in this 30-, 40-, 50-percent poor condition that is being reported. Yet, it still could come, but we're not there now."

The key to keeping those numbers from becoming prophetic from this point forward, Sholar said, is moisture.

As far as winter kill is concerned, Sholar said there wasn't much. That which did have trouble was planted at the tail end of the planting window and wasn't strongly established before earlier-than-normal cold temperatures set in.

Click on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to Ron Hays's conversation with Ron Sholar.


Ron Sholar says this year's canola crop is in better condition that indicated by USDA reports.
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