A number of producers in northwestern Oklahoma who grew canola saw their striking yellow fields turning into folding green for their wallets, helping to offset a difficult year for wheat and other crops.

Picking up practical tips for getting the most out of canola will be a major focus of the Fifth Annual Oklahoma-Kansas Winter Canola Conference on July 21 at the Garfield County Fairgrounds’ Hoover Building.

The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration, coffee and doughnuts. Program sessions will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude about 2 p.m. There is no charge to attend, or for refreshments and the sponsored steak lunch.

“Producers are learning that growing canola is a good way to clean up their wheat fields, a rotational cropping system that may help alleviate weed problems and tight profit margins along the way,” said Tom Peeper, Warth Distinguished Professor of Agronomy with Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural.

Canola yields have largely been good this year.

“There were some producers who thought their canola fields were in rough shape this spring only to have them come back strong from less-than-desirable weather,” Peeper said. “That’s good because the demand for canola is not being met.”

Also, crop rotation is an excellent way for producers to collectively improve the quality of Oklahoma’s wheat. As a winter broadleaf crop, canola offers producers a highly profitable option to use in rotation with their wheat.

“Think of the July 21 Enid conference as one-stop shopping,” Peeper said. “Producers can come in and get the latest science-based information about canola, speak with fellow farmers who are in similar situations, hear from industry experts and ask questions of agricultural specialists and researchers from OSU and Kansas State University.”

The conference will include 19 sessions on such topics as the 2008-2009 winter canola crop; marketing winter canola; variety test results; the economics of wheat-canola rotations with continuous wheat; aphid control; no-till and conventional till systems; swathing, pushing and direct harvesting; the FFA Canola Yield Contest and emerging issues in Oklahoma and Kansas crop production, among others.

Crop consultants are eligible to earn five continuing education credits, and more than $1,500 in door prizes will be awarded by sponsors.

“We’ve come a long way in the past 5 years in terms of improving varieties and management recommendations for maximizing yields and developing harvesting techniques,” Peeper said. “Producers should make plans to attend now. Canola might be just what they’re looking for in their operation.”

Additional information about the July 21 Oklahoma-Kansas Canola Conference in Enid is available at http://www.canola.okstate.edu or by contacting Peeper at 405-744-6420.