Winter canola has potential to weather the freeze
By Jennifer M. Latzke
With five hard freezes going through the prime winter canola growing region in five weeks, some first-time growers were concerned about the crop.
Mike Stamm, a canola breeder at Kansas State University, reassured them that canola can handle quite a bit of challenges from Mother Nature. Stamm spoke to growers during a day of field tours in Conway Springs and Caldwell, Kan., sponsored by K-State, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency, the U.S. Canola Association and the Great Plains Canola Association.
“You have to remember, canola is an indeterminate crop,” Stamm said. “It has more than one growing point, so you can lose several and if conditions improve it can reflower and grow. We just need some warm temperatures now to let it continue to grow.”
Primarily, canola farmers should look for splits in the stem from ice crystals forming, Stamm said. If the splits are lower on the stem, there can be a greater risk of lodging in the crop, especially if it becomes big and heavy with a lot of seed.
“If the splits are more up top on the plant, we aren’t quite as concerned,” Stamm added.
Growers walking fields should pay attention to canola rebounding after the freeze. If it is standing and green, Stamm said it should continue to grow and develop yield. They might observe some canola plants bent over or some purpling of the flowers.
“You may see bends in the main raceme and blank pods,” he said.
At most, there might be some delay in flowering and delay in development of 3 to 5 days, he added. The canola plant has several flowering points along the stem, even at the soil level. If one is damaged, another one lower on the stem will use the plant’s energy reserves to develop and produce seed.
“Unlike wheat where if we lose a growing point on a tiller we lose yield potential, canola can lose the main raceme and still have a lot of yield potential in the plant,” Stamm said. “It will flower over a long period of time.”
Stamm shared new updates from the RMA regarding canola crop insurance. In 2013, Barber, Gray, Harper, Kingman and Sumner counties will be eligible for revenue and yield protection. Gray County full coverage will be available under irrigation only.
Additionally, planting dates have been adjusted to reflect actual production methods for the crop. In Barber, Harper and Sumner counties the earliest planting date will be Sept. 10, with the final planting date of Oct. 10. Sherman, Thomas, Wallace, Logan, Gove, Greeley, Wichita, Scott, Lane, Hamilton, Kearney, Finney, Stanton, Grant, Haskell, Gray, Morton, Stevens, Seward and Meade counties will have an earliest planting date of Aug. 25, with a final date of Sept. 25. The rest of Kansas will keep the same planting dates of Sept. 1 to Sept. 30.
And, the T-yield for dryland canola in Kansas will be reduced to 1,350 pounds per acre, Stamm said.
Also on hand were Kelly Kohlmeier, merchandiser for Archer Daniels Midland Company, Goodland, Kan., and Gene Neuens, executive director of Plains Oilseed Products Cooperative, Oklahoma City, Okla. Both chatted with growers about their marketing options.
Paul Lange, Conway Springs, Kan., provided the first stop of the day. He was looking for a rotation for his wheat crop and is in his first year of growing canola.
“We’ve grown a little bit of everything, some soybeans in the past,” Lange said. “We have some lighter textured soil here, so canola seemed to be a good fit.” He added that he and his family are considering a wheat-wheat-canola rotation.
Jimmy Brown, Caldwell, Kan., offered his field for the second part of the tour. This is his first year growing winter canola and he was looking for more information on the crop’s development.
“My main reason for trying canola was to clean the ground up,” Brown said.
He primarily raises continuous crop wheat and had some rye and cheat problems in his fields. With hot and dry summers, winter canola provided another option rather than to plant corn or soybeans.
Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or firstname.lastname@example.org.