AGRONOMIC NEWS ITEMS
From Agronomists of the
Potash & Phosphate Institute
655 Engineering Drive, Suite 110
Norcross, Georgia 30092-2837
Phone (770) 447-0335
Fall 1999, No. 7
PROFIT FROM CANOLA IN THE SOUTHEAST
What is canola? Canola is the third most important oil seed crop in the world. It is a type of rapeseed which has oil suitable for human use and meal suitable for animal and poultry feed. Specialty canola oils have been grown in the Southeast U.S. They can be used for making high value products such as...cosmetics, hand and face creams & suntan lotions...marine and industrial lubricants...diesel fuel substitute...pest control products...inks...and paper products. As a bonus, the seed meal contains about 35 percent protein and is used for poultry and livestock rations.
Why is canola important? Because it is one of the few crops today that offers strong profit potential for farmers in the Southeast. It yields well, equipment for wheat fits canola needs, crushing facilities need the production, and canola fits into Southeast cropping rotations as a winter crop. New varieties have improved disease resistance (black leg) and respond very well to fertilizer, lime, and other good management practices.
What is canola’s yield potential? Farmer yields of 50 to 65 bushels per acre have been measured in the Southeast. Research yields have exceeded 100 bushels per acre. In general, economic break-even yields range from 35 to 40 bushels with production costs being slightly higher than for wheat.
Will canola fit Southeastern crop rotations? Certainly. It is a winter crop that can benefit from the more dependable winter rains. It matures in time for planting a second crop such as cotton or soybeans. Ten years of university and agribusiness research and development have made canola a producer-friendly Southeastern crop with profit potential.
Can canola be grown and marketed profitably? Yes. But, like peanuts and cotton, it will take fertile soils and first-class production and marketing practices. The following suggestions focus on the production/marketing practices which most often limit canola’s yield and profit potential.
The economic and agronomic outlook for canola in the Southeast U.S. remains strong. Consider canola as a part of your farming operation this fall.
- Marketing...meet with your area crusher, county agent, and/or certified crop adviser to learn about and benefit from crop marketing strategies, seasonal price fluctuations, etc.
- Varieties...select for disease resistance (blackleg) plus high yield potential. Georgia released “Flint” in 1998 with good blackleg resistance. “Cyclone” and “Oscar” varieties have performed well.
- Crop rotation...a 3-year rotation helps reduce weed, disease, and pest management problems.
- Planting date...the planting window changes within the region, so check with your crop adviser. Plant early in the window to avoid the risk of delayed planting due to rain or dry soil conditions.
- Acid soils...research shows canola responds to liming soils to pH 6.5. Lime takes at least three months to neutralize soil acidity, so lime the previous crop for canola or apply the lime now.
- Nutrient management...nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and boron are needed for most fields. Canola has a big appetite. Check with your crop adviser on time of application of each nutrient to insure the crop is getting its needs by growth stage. Further adjustments might be needed for site-specific soil characteristics (leaching) and/or for special weather conditions.
- Crop protection...university weed, disease, and insect specialists have developed excellent management recommendations which are site-specific and effective. Field scouting pays in many ways.
For more information, contact Dr. Noble R. Usherwood, Southeast Director, PPI, 233 Kenilworth Circle, Stone Mountain, GA 30083. Phone: (404) 294-0137. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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