Mid South Canola Program

Winter canola’s potential in the Mid South gets us excited! Why? First, its agronomics fit the region as a good winter crop following corn and before beans. Second, winter canola fits the changing global trend as consumers increasingly consume more protein and fat in their diet. Finally, canola’s fit with long term trends in consumer demand and its benefits to producers give it staying power.

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Winter canola agronomics fit the region. Planted in late September through early October, winter canola provides good winter cover. Currently available varieties withstand cold temps below 10F without damage when seeded properly. Spring green up provides a good canopy to outcompete weeds. Harvest time occurs in late May to early June and is a few weeks earlier than traditional wheat harvest. This spreads out farm labor and allows more time to get in double crop beans. This early harvest could be why University of Kentucky studies show soybean yields 2-7 bu/acre better when planted behind canola vs winter wheat. Canola needs a rotation for its own disease and weed control…but it works in a well thought out crop rotation.



Current winter canola prices deliver good value to producers. With ADM Memphis paying $8.30/bu as of this writing (May 2018), and yield expectations in the 40-60 bu/acre range, top line revenue compares to wheat. When you consider the yield gain on your double crop soybeans, winter canola shines! Even considering higher fertilizer (especially nitrogen) requirements, winter canola remains in the hunt for your acreage. It’s also a good diversification tool around weather. We all know a rain at the wrong time makes a mess of wheat quality. Recent years saw plenty of local problems with low test weight and high damage wheat. We expect winter canola quality to be more consistent, and will prove to carry less risk of quality discounts at harvest. Finally, canola prices show little correlation with wheat prices, so it’s a good diversifier of revenue for your farm.


Staying Power

U.S. corn demand growth is slowing and U.S. wheat demand has remained flat for 20 years, but demand for protein and fat from oilseeds like soybeans and canola is growing faster than GDP and population. U.S. canola oil demand tripled in the last 18 years, with the U.S. importing 65% of our needs. Around the globe, middle class growth supports upgrades in diet, meaning higher consumption of meat and fat. This trend supports soybean and canola markets. Switching production acres from wheat with stagnant demand, to canola with robust demand only makes sense. Throw in a growing biodiesel market that uses canola oil as a feedstock, and you are looking at a crop with much better demand prospects than wheat.


At ADM, we want to be a part of winter canola’s regional development. With 7 ADM plants in North America processing canola, we know how to handle it and we know how to market it. We believe in its potential and would be happy to help you get started understanding and producing this promising crop.


Recent Posts

Canola Harvest Logistics

Friday, August 3, 2018

When planning the crops to incorporate in your rotation, you don’t want to put something in the ground that you don’t know how to get out. Knowing some of the logistics of harvesting a crop before planting it can help you better plan your operation.

As a winter crop, canola is typically harvested in late May to early June. Since this is a few weeks earlier than a traditional wheat harvest, it helps relieve stress on farm labor. One week prior to harvesting, desiccation is necessary to dry down the crop and prepare it for removal from the field. While canola can be harvested with various types of combine heads, it is important to be aware of its small size to avoid potential loss of seeds through gaps in equipment. Adding to its appeal is the fact that, due to its hollow stalk, it is often easier to get through than wheat.

As always, ADM Mid South is happy to answer any questions you have about canola. We look forward to working with you.


How is Canola Marketed?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Having an idea of how canola is marketed is important before you put a crop in the ground. ADM understands that farmers want to know how the cash price is calculated, what forces are affecting the market, and how to put together a forward-thinking marketing plan.

Unlike corn and soybeans, canola futures are traded on the Canadian exchange. ADM calculates the cash price for canola by using the exchange rate and factoring in our location in the Mid South. Although canola is an oilseed like soybeans, soybean prices are not used to calculate the price you will receive for canola.

If you are interested in growing this revenue-diversifying crop, or would like to talk about the current canola market, please call ADM Mid South at (870) 739-1380. Much like how ADM works with you to create a well thought out plan for your traditional crops, we look forward to partnering with you to develop a canola plan that works for you.


Preparing to Plant Canola: Seed Selection

Friday, July 20, 2018

If you’ve been following the ADM Mid South Canola Communications, you know the facts: canola is a great source of diversified revenue for your farm, it is excellent for soil health, and works well in a rotation in place of wheat. Now, it’s time to buy your seed.

ADM Mid South is happy to connect you with an experienced canola agronomist who will assist you in choosing a seed variety and getting it to your local farm store or seed retailer. Please remember to purchase seeds that have not been genetically modified. As always, ADM Mid South is happy to answer any questions.


Preparing to Plant Canola: Choosing the Best Environment

Friday, July 13, 2018

The soil conditions in the Mid South are well suited for growing winter canola, but it is still important to make an educated decision about the best planting environment. Like wheat, canola performs best in fields that are well drained. Since canola is often used in place of winter wheat in a rotation, it can usually be grown in fields where wheat would be planted. In order for canola to establish its roots fully underground, it is beneficial to plant into a clean seed bed. The most productive fields in the Mid South this past growing seasons were those that were passed over with a Landoll twice before planting.

Here are the numbers to know when planting canola:

  • Seeding rate: 120,000 seeds/acre
  • Row spacing: 15-30 inches
  • Planting depth: ¾ – 1 inch in normal conditions
  • Planting dates: September 15-October 15

As always, if you have any questions or are interested in adding canola to your rotation, please contact the ADM Mid South office.


Typical Canola Rotation

July 6, 2018

As an alternative to winter wheat, canola fits perfectly into a three crop rotation. Due to their growing seasons, corn, canola, and soybeans can be grown in succession with enough time to comfortably harvest one crop and plant the next.

A typical rotation including canola in the Mid South starts with corn, which is planted in late April and harvested in late August – early September. Canola planting follows between September 15th and October 15th. While canola is typically grown in place of winter wheat, its harvest window is during the last half of May. Since this is a few weeks earlier than wheat harvest, farm labor benefits from being spread out. Harvest typically finishes in late May, just in time for soybean planting in June.

Adding canola to your rotation serves to diversify the sources of farm revenue, reduce strain on labor resources, and produce three marketable crops in a short period of time. The Mid South region is perfectly suited for growing canola, and we hope you will consider incorporating this crop when planning out your rotation.


Preparing to Plant Canola: Spraying History

June 29, 2018

When you put a crop in the ground, you want to know that you are giving it the best chance to succeed. With ADM, your canola success story begins before planting, when we help connect you to seed resources and make a plan for the growing season. But before looking forward, it is important to look back. Canola does best if it avoids certain chemical residues from previous crops, so be sure to evaluate your previous spraying history before planting your canola between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15.


  • Examine your previous application history
  • Ensure your applicants were not pre-mixed with harmful products
  • Check with an agronomist if you have any questions


  • Use Prefix®
  • Use Reflex®
  • Use Flexstar®
  • Use generic equivalents of the above products

Please note that the applications listed above are not a complete list. To check if a specific product is safe for canola, please contact the ADM Mid South office at (870) 739-1380. We would be happy to partner with you in your canola success story.


Agronomic Benefits of Canola

June 22, 2018

Due to its favorable location and climate, the Mid South allows a variety of crops to thrive, and canola is no exception. When incorporated into a rotation cycle, canola fulfills the traditional benefits of crop rotation, while also bringing unique benefits to the land that lasts long after harvest.

Planting canola helps break pest and disease cycles and produce healthier, better yielding plants throughout your rotation. Over the winter, canola acts as an excellent cover, and spring green up provides a good canopy to out-compete weeds. In addition, its plant structure includes a 4-5 foot deep root system. This biomass increases your soil organic matter, contributing to long-term soil health. Consequentially, soybean yields increase by 2-7 bu/acre when planted after canola.

All these benefits stand to prove that canola has year-round benefits that persist long after it has been taken out of the field.


Diversifying Your Revenue with Canola

June 15, 2018

ADM understands that farmers benefit from diversifying their operations. That’s why we at the ADM Mid South office are diversifying with you by now offering a winter canola marketing program. Here are three reasons to diversify farm revenue with canola:

  1. Canola is in high demand
    An increasingly wealthy world population desires healthier protein and fat sources. As a source of low trans-fat oil for humans and high protein meal for animals, canola checks these boxes.
  2. Canola has a consistent quality
    Average canola yields are 40-60 bushels/acre and carry a lower risk of quality discounts than some other crops.
  3. Canola prices show little correlation with wheat prices
    As an alternative to winter wheat, the low correlation between wheat and canola prices means an added element of risk management for your operation’s financial health.

More than being a beautiful crop with agronomic benefits, canola makes sense financially. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of adding winter canola to your crop rotation, or would like to see how canola plays out in a budget when compared to winter wheat, please contact the ADM Mid South office at (870) 739-1380.


Contact ADM Mid South

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of adding winter canola to your crop rotation, or would like to see how canola plays out in a budget when compared to winter wheat, please contact the ADM Mid South office at (870) 739-1380.


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