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Special Field Day at NMSU’s Clovis Science Center explores winter canola as alternative crop

“How well is canola adapted to the region?” “Are there any differences between conventional and herbicide tolerant or hybrid vs. open pollinated winter canola varieties?” “What is the forage quality of canola?” and “What did Oklahoma farmers learn about canola?” These are some of the topics to be discussed at a special field day April 22 at New Mexico State University’s Agricultural Science Center at Clovis.


Two men in canola field
New Mexico State University’s Agricultural Science Center at Clovis is hosting a free field day to address the potential of winter canola as an alternative crop April 22. (Submitted photo)

“Winter canola has good potential in the region,” said Sangu Angadi, a crop stress physiologist at the Clovis Science Center. “It is well adapted, requires less water and produces multiple products that are in demand locally.”

Research in New Mexico and West Texas has shown that including winter canola, a broad leaf crop, in the rotation offers many benefits including better grassy weed management in this area’s cropping systems. Canola meal, left over material after high quality edible oil is extracted from seed, is an excellent source of protein for dairy cattle in the region. It is currently imported from Canada.

With U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Alternative Crops program funding, research is being conducted at the Clovis Science Center to develop winter canola into an economically and agronomically viable alternative crop for the region. The field tour will be a good place to learn benefits and challenges of growing winter canola in the region.

Calvin Trostle from Texas AgriLife Extension will talk about winter canola cultivars available in the market. He will talk about herbicide tolerant vs. conventional cultivars and also hybrid vs. open pollinated cultivars.

Angadi and Michael “Mick” O’Neill, agronomy professor at NMSU’s Agricultural Science Center at Farmington, will summarize the Clovis and Farmington experiences of the National Winter Canola Variety Testing program, conducted over multiple years.

Heath Sanders from the Great Plains Canola Association will join the group from Oklahoma, the major state producing winter canola, and will talk about what they learned about canola. Rotational benefits and insect management will be the main focus.

How good is canola forage and what happens to seed yield if it is grazed or cut for silage? These questions will be the focus of Sultan Begna’s presentation. Begna is an agriculture research scientist at the Clovis Science Center.

Representatives from ADM and the Oklahoma Producer Co-op will be present to interact with farmers and give industry updates. Industry participation will be necessary to make canola a viable alternative crop in the region.

Registration for the event starts at 9 a.m. and the field tour will start at 10 a.m. A lunch program will be at 11:30 a.m.

The science center is located 13 miles north of Clovis and the map to the center can be accessed at http://clovissc.nmsu.edu.

For additional information, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, please contact Angadi (angadis@nmsu.edu) at 575-985-2292.