Safflower offers another alternative crop possibility. “Safflower has a long growing season, 130 to 180 days and is well-suited for dry conditions,” Duncan said.

“But we have few herbicide options and some disease and insect pest issues.”

He said mean yields in research and extension trials have been around 1,000 pounds per acre with a maximum of 1,750 pounds.

Flax, another oilseed, was grown in Texas back in the late 40s. “We currently have no production,” Duncan said. “It’s similar to canola but we have limited weed control options and a limited number of varieties.” A weed-free seedbed is critical for stand establishment. “It also should be established before freezing temperatures occur.”

Average production has been near 1700 pounds per acre in College Station trials with a maximum of 2421 pounds per acre and 39.8 percent oil content.

“The market is not as well-developed (as canola),” Duncan said.

Camelina trials have not produced good yields, only about 400 pounds per acre. Advantages include drought resistance, frost tolerance, a short growing season and minimal insect and disease pressure.

“Unfortunately, the yield is just not there,” Duncan said.

He recommended that growers looking for alternative crops evaluate yield potential, adaptability and market access before committing to acreage.