Approximately 150 winter wheat growers representing Oklahoma and Kansas attending a winter canola production meeting Tuesday in Midwest City, Okla., heard presentations from Land Grant University agronomists, grain marketing experts and fellow farmers who have successfully grown the new crop.

One of the most interesting presentations for people unfamiliar with growing winter canola was given by Dr. Tom Peeper, Oklahoma State University weed scientist emeritus. Recognized as the person most responsible for introducing winter canola as a positive addition to Southern Plains agriculture, most of Peeper's career focused on finding effective ways to combat the persistent weed problem in continuously-grown winter wheat in the Southern Plains.

Such weeds as ryegrass, feral rye and cheat grass now infest most farms producing winter wheat in the Southern Plains. Winter wheat is the most important crop grown in the area and weed seed in sharply reduces the price farmers receive for their grain. Weed infestation in winter wheat is recognized as a serious problem by regional wheat producer organizations.

Peeper, working with other university agronomists and private companies, discovered canola, an oilseed crop grown in the northern United States and Canada, could be tweaked into a winter crop and when rotated with winter wheat, sharply reduced the weed population in the wheat.

Peeper outlined the similarities and differences between canola and winter wheat.