New focus given to canola

Winter canola uses less water than winter wheat, and crop scientists will be teaching interested farmers about the benefits and challenges of growing this crop.

Courtesy photo: New Mexico State University

Canola has a variety of uses, including mill for feeding livestock and it can be converted into biodeisel, and will be the focus of a field day 9 a.m. Tuesday at the NMSU Clovis Agricultural Science Center, located 15 miles north of Clovis.

Sangu Angadi, a crop stress physiologist at the NMSU Clovis science center, said canola could be one of the solutions to the region's depleting water situation, but canola won't be the only solution. Canola, also known as rapeseed, grows up to 5 feet tall and is characterized by the radiant blossoms that paint canola fields yellow. Canola seeds are useful in a number of ways, Angadi said.

Angadi said canola seeds are crushed and the oil is extracted to be used as cooking oil. The remaining crushed seeds can be ground into a protein-rich mill for livestock feed. The seeds can also be used to produce biodeisel.

Angadi said canola seeds are selling for 27 cents per pound. Livestock can also graze on certain varieties of canola. Canola is also an effective grassy weed manager, basically choking the weeds, according to Angadi.

He said canola will also provide farmers with crop rotation benefits.

"Any crop that could create income comparable to what we've had in the past," said Chase Gentry of the Clovis Industrial Development Corp., "is a good thing for the community."

Angadi along with other researchers at the NMSU Clovis science center in conjunction with Kansas State University will be hosting a canola field day. Researchers will also answer questions.

This isn't the first time growing canola in the region has been encouraged. In 2007 researchers at the NMSU Clovis science center promoted canola as a biodeisel fuel and as mill for livestock.

Angadi said rising food prices resulted in canola production fizzling out. Angadi's hopes remain high for farmers to produce canola because he is confident it will save water and inject money into Clovis' economy.

  • What: Canola field day sponsored by NMSU Clovis Agricultural Science Center.
  • When: 9 a.m. Tuesday
  • Where: 2346 State Road 288, 15 miles north of town
  • Contact: 575-985-2292

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