Good yields may boost canola acres next year

Canola yields hit a new record in North Dakota this fall, thanks to cooler and wet weather over the summer.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture production report from earlier in October said average canola yields in the state were 1,870 pounds per acre, or 37.4 bushels per acre.

Barry Coleman, executive director of the Northern Canola Growers Association, said yields could have been higher. A late May frost forced farmers to reseed about 50 percent of the crop in northeastern North Dakota, which is the primary canola growing region.

“The yields were as robust as they could have been (in re-seeded fields), but we still had record yields across the state,” Coleman said.

“We had ample rainfall, temperatures weren’t quite as cool as last year but cool enough to not (interfere) with the flowering period.”

North Dakota farmers also planted more canola than expected this year. The USDA projected in March that farmers would seed 1.2 million acres of canola in the state, but they actually seeded 1.4 million.

The record canola yields in North Dakota helped set a new U.S. canola production record of nearly 62 million bu., up from 50.2 million bu. last year. Coleman said the strong yields may boost North Dakota’s canola acres next year.

“We’re looking at stable (acres) to maybe up a little bit, depending on how the prices (are) this spring.”

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