Farmers interested in producing winter canola learned how to grow the crop, where to find seed to plant, the importance of getting multi-peril crop insurance and the assurance of a good market for the new oilseed plant at two production meetings held recently at Hobart and Altus, Okla.

Representatives of the Producers Cooperative Oil Mill in Oklahoma City told producers about winter canola, an oilseed crop with seed that has a high oil content. Processed by PCOM for winter canola producers in North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, the oil can be used for low-fat cooking oil and for biofuels, according to Gene Neuens, PCOM field representative.

Heath Sanders, PCOM agronomist, explained winter canola is a crop that can be planted and harvested with the same equipment used by winter wheat growers. Developed to be rotated with winter wheat to reduce the presence of perennial weeds in continuously-grown winter wheat, canola has a long taproot to probe subsurface moisture, Sanders said.

More than 85,000 acres of the crop was harvested this spring. As many as 250,000 acres could be planted this fall. Winter canola does its weed removal work best when used in a one to three year rotation with winter wheat.

Farmers interested in growing canola should contact local seed companies since interest in the crop has caused a shortage of varieties. Many of the winter canola varieties are Roundup Ready.

Aug. 31, 2010, is the deadline for obtaining crop insurance to grow canola. Farmers should contact their local crop insurance agent to find out more about the insurance program.

Probably the best canola news for farmers is that winter canola seed is selling for more than winter wheat, even with the current increase in wheat market prices. On Friday, Aug. 5, winter canola was selling for $8.40 per bushel compared to $5.90 for Kansas City hard red winter wheat.

Farmers interested in obtained grower contracts for the 2010/2011 growing season should call PCPM at 405-232-7555. Neuens' email address is cscneuens@yahoo.com. His cell phone number is 405-760-4205. Brandon Winters, PMOC, can be reached at bwinters@producerscoop.net.