Don’t look now, but more yellow flowers may be popping up across Kansas, and they are not of the sunflower variety, which is the official state flower.
Based on the number of phone calls and emails I received this summer, I fully expect winter canola acres to rebound substantially for the 2017 crop year. Many producers said the price of wheat led them to their decision to plant canola, but I quickly reminded them that there are many benefits to rotating to canola including greater wheat yields, better weed control options and growing consumer demand for the oil.
The high yields of the 2016 canola crop certainly contributed to the greater enthusiasm for canola. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) October 2016 Crop Production report estimated the Kansas canola crop at 37 bushels per acre. This is the first year that NASS reported canola acres and yield in Kansas as a standalone state, a result of the current and potential acreage growth. Average yields from three national winter canola variety trial sites in Kansas ranged from 36 to 67 bushels per acre.
And we’re off to a good start. Many producers seeded their 2017 crop into plentiful soil moisture with above normal fall temperatures contributing to ideal top growth before winter. A few producers struggled to get their crop seeded in between rain events, and there was some replanting that happened because of the large amounts of rain, but I didn’t talk to anyone that was disappointed with the surplus moisture. Kansas could quickly become one of the top canola producers in the U.S. if the canola price continues its favorable rally, and the milder and wetter weather of 2016 prevails into 2017.
Mike Stamm is a canola breeder at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.