Canola Growers Look Ahead to New SeasonThu, 11 Sep 2014 18:31:28 CDT
For ten years Oklahoma's canola industry has gradually developed. The devastating drought effects of this past year brought havoc for the 2014 canola crop. Great Plains Canola Association Executive Director Dr. Ron Sholar said looks for there to be some carryover effect into the 2014-2015 growing year.
"It was a terrible year for everything we planted and that will have always have some negative impact," Sholar said. "We're hopeful that we are not going to lose our momentum. We were poised for great growth, but the kind of year we just are coming out of with some prospects of drought out there have slowed things down just a bit."
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Sholar to talk about the planting of the 2015 canola crop. You can hear their full conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.
In talking with their seedmans and with growers the canola association has found most growers intend to continue to plant canola this year. Sholar said anticipates a slight drop in acreage especially in the southwest part of the state.
Canola planting is just getting underway. Under guidelines from the Risk Management Agency, farmers have a 30 day window to plant the crop. Sholar said farmers should not under estimate the importance of planting.
"The most important trip across the field of the entire year is that planting trip," Sholar said. "...Harvest begins at planting. Its hard to improve as you go along, things can deteriorate, but its hard to get things better than where you start."
With some recent rains, there is more soil moisture providing more optimism to the growing season. Sholar said wheat and canola matches up with the region's weather and these two crops are the state's best drought mitigation strategies. With about 85 percent of the state in some level of drought, he said the state still needs more moisture for the canola crop to be poised and ready to take off.
While the price of canola has dropped, the spread between wheat and canola remains about the same. Sholar said nearly all of the canola used in the US is imported, so there is tremendous market for it.
As the canola industry has grown, so has funding for promotion and research for the crop. Sholar also serves as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Oil Seed Commission. About 60 percent of the money that the farmers have paid through the first purchaser checkoff system has gone to fund research at Oklahoma State University. He said this funding has been put toward the problems that impact growers like weed control, proper use and timing of fertilizer and developing new varieties for the region's conditions. This includes the development of hybrid canola varieties. Sholar said while the benefits of hybrid canola are relatively small right now, they will be the key to the long term sustainability of Oklahoma's canola industry.
You can listen to the full conversation that Farm Director Ron Hays had with Sholar on the state of the Canola industry in the southern plains by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
Dr. Ron Sholar will be our featured 'In The Field' guest this Saturday morning. Watch our interview on KWTV, News9 at 6:40 am Saturday morning. We will be talking about the start of the 2015 planting season.
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