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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Benefits

Agronomics

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.

 

Economics

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.

 

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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