Monday, November 13, 2006

Agronomy and Economics of Winter Canola Production in North Alabama.

Udai Bishnoi, Suresh Kumar, Ernst Cebert, and Rao Mentreddy. Dept of Plant & Soil Science, Alabama A&M Univ, PO Box 1208, Normal, AL 35762

Like wheat, in the southeast US, canola can be another commercial winter crop with benefits such as breaking of disease and insect cycles when rotated with summer crops. In order to test such benefits and to develop canola’s agronomic production practices and its comparative economics to wheat, since 1998, we conducted several experiments. Results from sowing dates, seeding and nitrogen rates experiments showed that canola planted from October 1-10 produced significantly higher seed yield than from mid to late October plantings. The seeding rate of 6.0 kg ha-1 and 180 kg Nitrogen ha-1 gave highest seed yield. Canola’s response to sulfur (S) and N rates showed that S @ 33 kg ha-1 with 228 kg N ha-1 produced highest (3259 kg ha-1) seed yield. Use of winter canola as a double crop with corn, soybean, cotton and grain sorghum showed that canola after soybean and corn produced 3129 and 2938 kg ha-1, respectively, which were significantly higher than after cotton and grain sorghum. Evaluation of canola’s comparative yield and benefit showed that canola with an average yield of 2.6 t ha-1 fetched $ 185 ha-1 whereas wheat with an average yield of 2.9 t ha-1 fetched $82 ha-1 establishing that wheat and canola produced similar yield but higher price of canola seed per unit nearly doubled its profitability.