By Kurtis Schroeder, Ph.D.
Crop options are limited in the wheat-dominated dryland areas of the inland Pacific Northwest (PNW) and few rotation crops return a profit similar to winter wheat. However, canola is adapted to the PNW and both spring and winter canola can be grown profitably in the region. Canola adds several benefits in rotation with cereal crops, including reduced plant disease, additional weed control and management options, and in the case of winter canola, increased water infiltration. As a result, a multistate project in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana is being funded by a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The goals are to develop regionally adapted canola cultivars and advance agronomic practices to optimize canola performance, thereby increasing regional canola acreage.