By Kim Larson, Crop Production, River Valley Extension District
Growing winter canola is still rather new to Kansas farmers, but it is catching on and growing in popularity in certain areas of the state. In our area in north central Kansas, winter canola is still rather a rarity. However, canola has become a profitable oil crop that has real possibilities in this part of the state as well. Kansas State University canola breeder, Mike Stamm has had winter canola variety trials at the NCK research field west of Belleville for the past several years with very good success. Due to this success, Cloud County crop producer, Brad Berk, has made the decision to grow canola for the first time on his farm this year following wheat. From my recent visit to Brad’s field, it appears that his winter canola crop is well on its way and in good shape as we move towards winter.
Producers in the area have the opportunity to attend a field day at Brad’s field on October 31st at 10:00 a.m. to learn firsthand about the crop and its possibilities in this area. Any interested individuals are welcome to attend. River Valley District K-State Research and Extension is hosting the field day and refreshments will be sponsored by Wilbur-Ellis. KSU canola breeder, Mike Stamm, will be the speaker at the field. “This will be a great opportunity for producers, landowners, and those in agribusiness to learn more about good canola production practices for Kansas. Record planted acres this fall suggests interest in winter canola as a rotation crop with wheat continues to grow,” Stamm comments. The field is located 1 1/2 miles east of US-81 on Iron Road, south of Concordia, in Cloud County.
As canola is an oilseed, one benefit to adding it to your cropping system is its commodity price is not tied to the price of cereal grains. Producers who diversify their cropping systems by producing both cereal grains and oilseed crops can better withstand the risks associated with fluctuating grain markets. Generally, winter canola is planted six weeks before the first killing frost, or about one month before wheat planting. An important factor to consider when selecting a winter canola cultivar in this area is winter survival. Successful winter survival depends on the genetics of the cultivar, the environment in which it is grown, and the management of the producer. There are cultivars developed specifically for the Great Plains that have demonstrated excellent winter survival and performance under stressed environments. For a detailed description of canola production and management in Kansas, refer to the “Great Plains Canola Production Handbook,” which can be obtained at your local extension office.
I hope to have a great turnout at the canola field day on the 31st. It will be an excellent opportunity to have canola expert, Mike Stamm, present to answer your questions and explain production practices and rotation benefits canola can provide to the cropping systems in our area. See you then!