Promising Canola Crop

first_imgAnother plus for Georgia’s canola growers is the industry attention to the crop. The market price for wheat, the crop with which canola competes for acreage inGeorgia, is about $3.30 per bushel for the 1997 crop. That spells profit for some Georgia farmers. In the height of today’s health consciousness, Americans have discovered an alternativelow-fat cooking oil — canola. That’s about the same acreage as was planted last year. But this year farmers arelooking for much better yields. After several years of low wheat prices, many Georgia farmers welcomed a new wintercrop. “Last year we had a very bad freeze that wiped out all but about 2,000 acres of thecanola crop,” Woodruff said. “So far, this year’s crop is in mint condition and we haveno reason to think we will harvest any less than 95 percent of the acreage.” The future looks bright for Georgia farmers interested in growing the new crop. Growers’ noncontract canola is bought and sold locally like corn, wheat or othergrains. “Canola production is likely to continue to increase,” Woodruff said. “That’s especiallytrue if the current offering price of $8 per bushel holds.” “This year almost all of the canola planted was on contracts,” Woodruff said. “Lastyear, only 70 percent was contract-grown.” “With contract crops, it is vertically integrated,” Woodruff explained. “A particularoutfit offers a per-bushel amount for the grower to grow it at the guaranteed price.” “About 18,000 acres were planted in the Carolina-Georgia area,” said John Woodruff,a University of Georgia Extension Service agronomist. “About 16,000 of those wereplanted in Georgia.” But Georgia farmers planted about 400,000 acres of wheat this year. That’s up from350,000 in ’95. The two crops yield close to the same number of bushels per acre. Farmers who want to know more about growing canola as a winter crop should contactthe county extension office.last_img

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