A list of custom harvesters with experience in harvesting winter canola is now available to winter canola producers in the Southern Plains states.

Since harvesting winter canola may require several different approaches, depending on weather conditions, the list should be particularly helpful to producers who are growing the crop for the first time, according to Gene Neuens, Producers Cooperative Oil Mill field representative and executive director of the Plains Oilseed Products cooperative.

Compiled by the Great Plains Canola Association, in cooperation with Oklahoma State University, the list contains names of custom harvesters who are familiar with harvesting winter canola.

The list is available at the websites of Great Plains Canola Association, and at Plains Oilseed Products cooperative, and will be available at all Oklahoma State University Extension county offices, farmer cooperatives and at seed companies in the winter canola growing area of the Southern Plains.

Also attached to the list is a list of Oklahoma custom harvesters who are members of US Harvesters, Inc. The list of winter canola harvesters was compiled from custom harvesters who replied to a blog posted on the www.uschi.com/ website.

"These are harvesters who have experience with canola harvesting equipment and who are willing to help you get your canola crop out of the field," said Jeff Scott, GPCA president. "They may have to bring or obtain additional equipment. Please think ahead, if needed, and contact some of these experienced harvesters and make arrangements. We also have a list of available "pushers" in Oklahoma to get the crop ready for harvest."

It is estimated more than 85,000 acres of winter canola will be harvested just in Oklahoma this spring, according to estimates made by the staff at the Producers Cooperative Oil Mill in Oklahoma City, where the crop will be processed.

Many 2010 winter canola producers have planted several thousand acres of the crop, making definite, early plans for harvesting a must.

Winter canola is an oilseed crop that is proving to be a valuable rotation option for Southern Plains winter wheat growers. Benefits of canola are many, but it gives a wheat grower a money crop to grow in rotation with wheat to break up perennial weed problems that can reduce the price paid wheat farmers for their grain.

Winter canola seed is selling for approximately $3.85 per bushel more than winter wheat. It has a large tap root that breaks up tight soil pans for better moisture retention and for better planting tilth for crops grown after the canola.

More information about the harvesters list and growing canola may be obtained at the www.canola.okstate.edu/, www.plainsoilseedproducts.com, and www.producerscoop.net websites.