Canola showcased at College Station field day
Canola field varieties were in full bloom amidst a backdrop of sunny skies and breezy conditions at the recent Texas A&M University field laboratory near College Station.
“Our trials look beautiful right now,” said Dr. Clark Neely, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service oilseed specialist, College Station, who was joined by experts at the 2014 Winter Canola Field Day. The half-day educational program attracted industry experts, university researchers and producers.
“We’re about 10 to 14 days behind because of cold weather,” he said. “About 50 percent of the varieties are flowering right now. Until now, there has been little insect and disease pressure, however, we’ve seen a substantial increase in aphid pressure in just the past week, which will need to be controlled soon. We will continue to keep an eye on insect pressure through pod fill.”
Dr. Clark Neely, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service oilseed specialist, was one of the featured speakers at the recent 2014 Winter Canola Field Day in College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)
The College Station trials feature 57 entries in the National Winter Canola Variety Trial. It’s one of the largest trials ever at the Texas A&M farm, which serves as a teaching and research platform for AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
Canola is attracting the interest of Texas farmers since it could diversify their crop portfolio, Neely said.
“That’s one of the reasons it’s taken off in the Great Plains, particularly around Oklahoma,” he said. “The reason it got going was because of weed issues in continuous wheat. When you have wheat year after year, you can have buildup of grassy weed species. Canola really fits well with wheat because it’s another winter crop.”
Neely said canola is a favorable crop to incorporate into a rotation due to additional chemical options in controlling weed problems and limiting potential weed resistance. Many popular varieties have herbicide-tolerant traits, which is another advantage for producers.
“That’s one of the big selling points,” he said. “Canola is traditionally thought of as a rotational crop, but there are some guys in Oklahoma who consider themselves canola producers that rotate with wheat. So, they really like the crop and are having a lot of success with it.”
Canola is known for not liking “wet feet” and favors soils that drain quickly, he said.
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