Getting ready for winter canola
The yellow flowering fields in Kansas during the springtime showcase one of the state’s most beautiful crops—canola. The crop is not only pleasing to the eye, but its seeds produce oil that has many human health benefits and meal that is used as a protein supplement for livestock. The oil can also be used for making biodiesel.
Its growing demand for a variety of uses has, in the last 10 years, made canola a more popular and profitable rotational crop in Kansas. Winter canola is commonly grown in central and south central Kansas under dryland conditions, while in southwest Kansas it is grown using irrigation. The window for winter canola planting begins in late August, so it is about a month ahead of winter wheat planting. Now is the time to make decisions to ensure a successful canola growing season for 2013-2014.
Mike Stamm, a canola breeder and associate agronomist at Kansas State University, said about 80 percent of the canola oil consumed in the United States is imported, so it makes sense for farmers in the southern Great Plains to grow more winter canola.
“One of the reasons why we’re encouraging farmers to grow winter canola is that the same equipment used for wheat production can also be used for winter canola,” Stamm said.
Canola makes an excellent rotational crop with winter wheat, he said, because different classes of herbicide used to control weeds in winter canola also control weeds that can be troublesome for winter wheat. The roots of a canola plant can draw nutrients and water that are deep in the soil up to the surface that often times wheat roots can’t reach.
Seeds within canola pods are small, but their value is not. Each 2 millimeter (mm) diameter seed is about 40 percent oil. With a current futures price for the 2014 crop around $11.35 per bushel, canola is looking profitable for the coming year, Stamm said.
He had tips for producers who are considering growing winter canola this season:
• Insurance: Insurance is available for canola in all Kansas counties adjacent to and south of Interstate 70. Revenue and yield protection are available in Barber, Gray (irrigated only), Harper, Kingman, and Sumner Counties. Coverage in other counties is available by an individual written agreement, for yield protection only, if certain criteria are met. The deadline to apply for canola insurance is Aug. 31. To qualify for full benefits of the coverage, including replant payment if necessary, canola needs to be planted Aug. 25-Sept. 25 in southwest Kansas; Sept. 10-Oct. 10 in Barber, Harper and Sumner Counties; and Sept. 1-30 in Kingman County and all other eligible counties.
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