Canola Crop Needs Rain- But Still Has Potential- Gene NeuensFri, 25 Apr 2014 09:52:52 CDT
As has been the case in recent years, the new crop on the block, winter canola, came through a cold, dry winter in good shape. A failure to receive any significant moisture since it started growing again in the spring raises new questions about the crop's future.
Gene Neuens, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Producers Cooperative Oil Mill oilseed field representative, says there is a lot of potential in the 2014 crop, if it will start raining soon.
"It is very dry across all of western Oklahoma," he said. "I just completed a two day tour of winter canola growing west of I35 and a good, soaking rain is needed everywhere.
"Our canola crop is growing now. For it to continue to do well, we need to get at least a one inch, general rain over all of western Oklahoma. The crop is flowering now, preparing to produce the seed pods needed for the harvest later in the spring. If a good rain doesn't come soon, the crop will begin to drop the seed pods. As late as it is in the growing season, it may be too late to regenerate any seed pods if drought causes the crop to drop them instead of having them to fill and mature."
Neuens said the canola crop in southwestern Oklahoma is in "terrible shape." Usually, he said, there has been more soil moisture north of I40 in western Oklahoma, but now, there is little moisture. Recent rains have been spotty, with one inch falling in scattered, limited areas. In other locations, he said, less than one inch in various amounts has fallen, but this precipitation has been has been scattered as well.
"Rain is the only thing we don't have in order to have a good crop of canola this year," he said. "For instance, in the areas of Kingfisher, Enid and Cherokee, there is a lot of good canola growing, but like everywhere else, it is very dry. There hasn't been any significant rain in several months and the crop will begin to really hurt soon. We saw more good canola fields near Clinton, Weatherford and El Reno, but, like everywhere else, it is needing a drink right now."
Before the end of this coming week, Neuens said, all of the crops growing in western Oklahoma, winter wheat and canola, will need at least a one inch rain over the entire area. And to keep the crops on target, he said, at least one inch of rain each week will be needed to avoid farmers needing to get in touch with their crop insurance agents.
Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, now in its 70th consecutive year of service to farmers cooperatives, will soon start crushing canola seed to produce biofuels and high grade cooking oil, he said.
"In order to process as much canola seed as possible," he said, "PCOM will be processing canola seed from spring crops grown in the Dakotas and Canada.
"We will even be receiving canola seed from growers in the Corpus Christi, Texas, area. Lack of any frost in that location allows farmers to grow spring canola behind their wheat. So PCOM will crushing seed from there."
Canola is grown in both spring and winter varieties, depending on the geographical area of the US. its seed has a very high oil content of 42-45 percent, which is used for biofuels, livestock feed and nutritious cooking oils.
Winter canola is a crop developed less than a decade ago for production in the Southern Plains primarily as a crop to rotate with continuously-grown winter wheat. Winter wheat grown in the same fields for many years had built up a host of perennial weeks which, when harvested and hauled to grain terminals with the wheat seed, reduced the price farmers received for their grain.
Winter canola, a very different crop from wheat, reduced the presence of weeds like cheat grass and rye grass, when grown in a rotation with wheat. Farmers also found canola is a good money crop consistently bringing from $3-4 more bushel than winter wheat.
For more information on growing winter canola in the Southern Plains, contact Gene Neuens at PCOM, 405-232-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His cell is 405-760-4205.
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