Jeff Scott Touts Canola Benefits, Despite Tough Year in 2014Fri, 20 Feb 2015 12:43:24 CST
There is no doubt that 2014 was a disaster for the state's canola farmers, but there is a bright side. The crop is still offering benefits in 2015. Jeff Scott, President of the Great Plains Canola College and US Canola Association said some of the best wheat pasture ground was planted on failed canola acres, so there are still benefits of the crop. He believes farmers need to take a systems approach and not just evaluate canola on a single crop year.
"A rotation, is a rotation," Scott said. "We've got to look at over 2, 3, 4, 5 years, average those returns, and I guarantee you will off better in the long run with canola in your rotation, than you will without."
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed Scott at Canola College in Enid Thursday. Click or tap on the LISTENBAR below to listen to the full interview.
The state's canola acres peaked last year and after the tough year, the state's acres planted to canola declined for the 2015 crop.
"We have seen a little bit of retracement, but I think our diehard producers are still out here,"Scott said. "They have seen what this crop will do for their operation and so they are here trying to learn what they can do in the next 100 days to get through this cropping system."
Last year's crop was discouraging for Oklahoma farmers. Scott said it doesn't matter what crop you look at last year was a disaster for canola and wheat farmers. Some only harvested a few bushels an acre or none at all. Scott has seen the impact of last year's drought first hand as there was no crop there to harvest, but that hasn't change his perspective of the crop. He said acres remain unchanged over a year ago, as this crop has proven itself and it has changed the dynamics on his farming operation.
"I know there was some emotional pullback due to those losses or not able to harvest at all," Scott said. "But I think we will see rebuilding from here. This is a reset on acres, as mother nature works with us hopefully, we'll see those acres expand."
In looking at this year's crop, Scott said it's in better shape than a year ago, as the state has received more moisture this fall and winter. He is finding soil moisture in the top two or three foot of the soil profile. That's better than a year ago when there was no moisture available to the crop. Scott is hopeful that Mother Nature will bring April showers to help the crop finish strong.
Canola remains to be a new crop for a lot of farmers. Scott said every year they learn a little bit more on fertility, seed placement and the mechanics of growing the crop and if get those practices in place, that will provide a good foundation to get the crop started. Scott has found that makes all the difference in growing the crop than what he faced when he started growing the crop over a decade a ago. He believes if farmers stick to the basics and the weather cooperates, the canola crop will be successful.
Last week, the U.S. Canola Association held their annual meeting in the nation's capital. Scott was also elected as the new President of the association, which is a big step forward for the Southern Plains region. To date, leadership in the organization has been held predominantly by farmers from North Dakota.
At their annual meeting, farmers visited with their Congressional leaders in lobbying for the importance of crop insurance. USCA also continues to work with the Risk Management Agency in getting more counties certified for canola. Scott said progress has been slow and steady, but he is optimistic RMA will continue to add more counties in the future.
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