Farmers are often on the lookout for a crop that will result in good returns and fit into their crop rotation. Increasingly, Kansas growers are finding that winter canola may be that crop, said Kansas State University agronomist Vic Martin.

To help those who are considering canola or would like to learn more about growing it, K-State Research and Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture´s Risk Management Agency are offering several Kansas canola production schools in March. The dates, locations and contact information for each school include:

March 13 - McPherson - McPherson County Extension at 620-241-1523;

March 18 - Great Bend - Barton County Extension at 620-793-1910; and

March 19 - Pratt - Pratt County Extension at 620-672-6121.

Registration for each school begins at 8:30 a.m. with the program starting at 9 a.m. The program ends at approximately 3 p.m. Lunch, courtesy of the Producers Cooperative Oil Mill of Oklahoma City, will be provided at each location.

To ensure adequate food and program materials are available, the organizers are requesting that participants pre-register approximately one week prior to the meeting by calling the appropriate Extension office.

The program and speakers include:

Canola Plant Growth and Development - Kraig Roozeboom, K-State Extension cropping systems specialist.

Winter Canola Production Practices and Considerations - Vic Martin, Extension annual forages and alternative crops specialist.

Canola Pest Management and Canola Harvest - Bill Heer, agronomist- in-charge, K-State South Central Experiment Field.

Canola Variety Selection, Hybrid Canola, and Seed Treatments – Mike Stamm, KSU/OSU canola breeder

Winter Canola Crop Insurance - Jim Hamilton, USDA Risk Management Agency

Canola Marketing Opportunities - Gene Neuens, Producers Cooperative Oil Mill

Great Plains Canola Association - John Haas, board of directors

Producer Panel and Discussion

"For a variety of reasons, interest in winter canola production is increasing," Martin said. "This translates into opportunities for Kansas producers to introduce a viable dryland broadleaf crop that will benefit their cropping system and is economically competitive with other traditional dryland crops."

Prices offered for winter canola in Kansas have more than doubled since last fall, he said.

"As of Feb. 8, it was possible for producers to contract Kansas winter canola acres (not production) at 22.5 cents per pound for the 2008 crop and 20.9 cents per pound for the 2009 crop," Martin said. "This translates to $11.25 per bushel for the 2008 crop. With a long- term average dryland yield goal of 1,600 to 2,000 pounds per acre, gross income would range from $360 to $450 per acre."

An additional benefit to dryland producers -- especially those in areas where dryland soybeans are not practical -- is the added boost to succeeding cereal grass crops, he said. This benefit includes, but is not restricted to increased pest control, due to the introduction of a broadleaf crop in the rotation.

For irrigators in a limited irrigation situation, winter canola can provide an economically attractive crop with water use requirements similar to winter wheat´s.

More information about the canola schools is available by calling one of the Extension offices listed or Martin at 620-663-5525.