Farmers looking to reduce the crunch of seeding time are likely keeping an eye on research going on in North Dakota.
NDSU’s North Central Research Extension Center is testing a popular crop that could be seeded at this time of year, rather than the spring.
Jim Olson has the story from Minot in our Eye on Agriculture.
The idea being researched in these rows is what’s called dormant seeded winter canola – a canola crop that could be planted at this time of year instead of the busy spring season.
(Eric Eriksmoen, NDSU Research Agronomist) “We could be out planting this crop today.”
“This crop” is canola – and the idea of planting it in the late fall is one that’s been around a while, but hasn’t proved to be reliable just yet.
(Eric Eriksmoen, NDSU Research Agronomist) “At this point in time it’s fairly risky and that’s why we’re doing this.”
The North Central Research Extension Center planted 20 varieties of canola here – looking for the best genetics to handle a winter of dormancy before beginning growth next spring. Winter canola has some big promise in some previous testing
(Eric Eriksmoen, NDSU Research Agronomist) “Winter canola typically produces 30%-50% more than the spring-type canola so there’s a big advantage that we’re trying to capture.”
Along with the potential for bigger yields, a winter canola crop could help farmers who need choices for crop rotation and at the same time want to diminish the crunch of spring seeding.
Research agronomist Eric Eriksmoen says one oddity in some of the earlier research is that the winter-planted canola seeds seem to want to have some dark soil – some tilled earth above them rather than stubble that’s seen in no-till operations.
(Eric Eriksmoen, NDSU Research Agronomist) “And we don’t quite understand what’s going on there at this time but just through past experience and observation it appears that winter canola does well on dark soil – when it’s planted into dark soil.”
That’s a big question to be answered in this testing – along with several others. But if the answers are found, a farmer’s fall work could be capped off with another round of planting – and maybe some larger yields of a popular crop around here. At the North Central Research Extension Center, Jim Olson, KX News.
Eriksmoen says the success or failure of the test plots will be evident early in the spring when the crop should be emerging.