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Agricultural News

PCOM Crushes Canadian Canola to Replace Dwindling Cottonseed Supplies

Fri, 04 Apr 2014 16:36:45 CDT

PCOM Crushes Canadian Canola to Replace Dwindling Cottonseed Supplies
The continuing drought across cotton country in southwest Oklahoma continues to take its toll on farmers, but it has also put the squeeze on everyone down the line including Producers Cooperative Oil Mill in Oklahoma City. Gene Neuens of PCOM tells Radio Oklahoma Network's Ron Hays they are now finishing processing on the cottonseed they did have and are beginning to work on canola. (Click on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story to hear their conversation.)

"We've had a short year on cottonseed again. We started the year with nothing. And so, probably at the end of this month, the end of April in this area, we'll start up on canola."

As producers in the southwest are once again facing drought conditions, Neuens says his facility is also feeling the pinch.

"It's a big deal. Our biggest area, which is Altus, 50,000 acres of irrigated cotton is in its third year now where they won't get any water. And, so, we're going to be hurting for next year, too, unless we do get some decent rain out here."

As PCOM gears up for canola season, Neuens said this is the eighth year they have been crushing it. Their canola volume has grown along with production across Oklahoma.

"It's been an opportunity for us to do something when we don't have cotton. In fact, we're going to start up on May 1st this year. We're crushing some Canadian canola, some local canola we had leftover from last year and get through harvest. So, we're going to be crushing through harvest this year which is going to be good."

He said the economics are there to bring Canadian canola to Oklahoma to crush because it yields 48 percent oil.

"They've been growing canola for 40 years up there so the genetics are a little bit better than ours.   They're starting to move the genetics into the winter canola. When that happens, we'll start getting our oil content up, too."

Turning to Oklahoma's 2014 canola crop, Neuens says it needs a lot of water right now as it begins to bolt and bloom. He says there are lots of plants in the fields, but without moisture the yield will more than likely be below average this year.

"If you averaged 2,000 pounds, you'll probably average 1,500 pounds, three-quarters of what we normally have."

Even with expectations of a lower-than -normal harvest, Neuens says there are now a lot of farmers who will be harvesting wheat this year that has been in rotation with canola and will see the benefit it provides their wheat crop.

He said interest from producers in growing canola is accelerating and is spreading throughout the region. He says farmers throughout Texas and New Mexico are now getting on the canola bandwagon.



Ron Hays talks with Gene Neuens about shifting gears from crushing cotton to crushing canola.
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