Browsing articles from "January, 2011"

The Biology And Management Of Canola Blackleg

Blackleg, also known as Phoma stem canker, is a destructive fungal disease of canola and other Brassica spp. caused by Phoma Iingam. lt has caused crop failures in canola/oilseed rape in Canada and Australia, and in Kentucky in the U.S. The disease was first found in Oklahoma in the fall of 2009 and apparently contributed to yield loss in some fields in North Central OK, alone or in combination with damage caused by the cabbage maggot. Because this is a new disease in Oklahoma, there is no local information on the damage potential of this disease or on effective strategies for disease control.

The proposed research on blackleg will have three objectives. The damage potential of black leg in Oklahoma will be assessed by inoculating field plots of susceptible and resistant canola varieties at crop development stages and measuring yield response. Secondly, a black leg nursery will be established where canola varieties and breeding lines will be screened for resistance to the disease.

Finally the effectiveness of fungicide application for managing black leg will be assessed. Different fungicides will be compared and various application timings will be assessed in artificially inoculated field plots. Results should provide canola growers practical information on the threat of black leg to local canola production and on effective disease control strategies.

Canola Hybrid Demonstrations

Canola continues to be accepted as a profitable crop option for producers in Oklahoma. With limited resources, it is cost prohibited to establish and maintain replicated variety / hybrid canola demonstrations in each county that is growing canola. One option that could be initiated to help producers understand variety of hybrid choices is to duplicate a project that is working well in the wheat industiy. That project involves unreplicated wheat variety strips for producer to evaluate in their county under their production systems. For this project, the OCES Agriculture Educator indicates that his county would like a set of varieties/hybrids (canola producer packets) and finds a producer to establish in a field where canola will be planted. The producer and the Educator plant the canola in side by side strips proximately 100 feet long in the field. During April the Educator and producer host a field tour to discuss the varieties/hybrids and other important canola production information. These sites might also serve as a gathering point for another demonstrations or section line seminars that the Educator or other Canola lndustry Leaders might deem necessary.

Canola Variety/Hybrid Producer Packet Demonstrations


1. Assist producers with selection of canola varieties/hybrids for his oanoia production system.

2. Determine if the demonstration of varieties/hybrids will influence the producers planting choice in the future.

These demonstrations target counties that do not have replicated variety/hybrid plots. They would also be targeted toward newer production areas where producers are just generating interest in canola.

Though public and private breeding efforts, we would hope to package 10 to 15 varieties/hybrids for planting in under represented counties. During the flowering period or shortly after, OCES personnel would lead a discussion on varietylhybrìd selection and other topics of interest for producers who attend.


1. August 1, 2010, determine where replicated trial location with Dr. Godsey will be located.
2. August 1, 2010, determine which counties are represented and invite the OCES Ag Educator the option to participate in these non replicated demonstrations.
3. August 10, 2010 allow OCES Ag Educator to determine his county grower and begin the process of getting the seed packets put together.
4. August 30, 2010 Deliver seed packets to OCES Educators for establishment ofthe demonstration plots.
5. April 2011 OCES Ag Educator hosts a tour ofthe plots and provides producers with a short questionnaire to determine if information and obsenration of varietìes/hybrids would be altered in coming years as a result of what they are seeing.

Results of this work are to hopefully avoid placing the wrong canola variety/hybrid in a situation that will not work. By hosting a tour at the demonstration site, producers can at least once a year visit with canola industry specialists and researchers to increase their knowledge and awareness of production information useful to their canola production system.

Relationship to Other Research:

This project closely follows what we are seeing at other canola demonstration sites across Oklahoma only it would be inthe producer’s back yard under their production constraints. This might be the only location that some producers attend during the year because it is closest to his home and would not need to travel long distances to see canola.

Dr. Chad Godsey, OCES Oil Seed Specialist
Mark Gregory, OCES SW Area Agronomist
Josh Bushong, OCES NW Extension Assistant – Canola
Ross Haxton, OCES SVV Extension Assistant – Canola

Late Season Aphid Management

Since the introduction of winter canola into Oklahoma, producers have battled devastating aphid infestations. During the initial years of production it became clear that canola could not be successfully grown in Oklahoma Without an effective aphid management plan. Turnip aphids can have the greatest impact killing young plants from November-March if untreated. Green-peach aphids occur throughout the growing season at high numbers. Whereas cabbage aphids are frequent late-season pests during flowering and seed-pod development. In response to an initial crisis caused primarily by turnip aphids, the OKANOLA team documented the effectiveness and profitability associated with Nicotinoid seed treatments, and developed sanmpling protocols and economic thresholds for this pest during the early spring. Significant late spring infestations of Green-Peach and Cabbage aphids (thousands/plant) continue to be a major concern for producers of producers sprayed insecticides for aphids at least once during spring 2010. However, economic thresholds for late eason infestations have not been established and information on the protitability of late season suppression is currently not available. According to the US Canola Association the impact aphid populations on Winter and spring canola needs to be evaluated in greater detail, and parasites and predators need further study. We plan to evaluate the impact of late season aphid infestations on canola yield and oil content in seeds, and document the profitability of late­season curative insecticide treatments.

During the late spring of 2010 75% of canola growers sprayed their Íields with insecticides to suppress aphids. These applications may be justifiable. However, there is no data available for Oklahoma producers as to whether yields were protected enough to justify the expense of an application. Justifiable use of insecticides will increase profit margins of producers both short and long-term, and any reductions in use will delay insecticide resistance While conserving natural enemies. Interestingly, during the spring of 2010 a few Íields that were not sprayed had large numbers of natural enemies, which may have contributed to aphid reductions. Proven profitable approaches for late season aphid suppression are essential for the completion of an aphid management plan.

Oilseed Products

Canola was developed in Canada in the 1970s breeding out unhealthy components of rapeseed to produce a product suitable for consumption. Its oil has a different composition than rapeseed and meets stringent standards to fit the industry definition of canola. Only then can it be sold under that trademarked name.

“Canola oil has one of the lowest levels of saturated fat among cooking oils and no trans fats,” said Dr. Sharon Robinson, Extension nutrition specialist. “It is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids – nutrients needed to help maintain health. In fact, canola has more vitamin E than peanut, corn or olive oil.”

Along with oil, canola is used in making salad oils, sandwich spreads, coffee creamers and other edible products. Canola meal is processed into pellets and mash to make feed for pigs, cattle and poultry. It is also used in pesticides, lubricants, printing inks, cosmetics and other non-edible products.

Biofuel is considered an important means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy security by providing a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

Biofuels are commonly used throughout the world. The most common use for biofuels is automotive transport (E10 fuel). Essentially a biofuel can be produced from any short term carbon cycle organic compound; due to this there is a high variety of resources and therefore many types of biofuels.

Learn More About Oil Seed

In the United States, soy beans provide the primary feedstock for biodiesel production. Palm oil from southeast Asia has also emerged as a low cost feedstock for biodiesel production. Both of these feedstocks will compete for market share with locally grown oilseed crops.

Canola crop

In the Northwest, the focus is on brassica crops, which includes canola, rape and mustard. These oilseeds have been used in limited applications as a rotation crop with wheat and barley. The benefit of rotating oilseed crops with cereal grains is that they allow a wider choice of herbicide use, improving weed control. The addition of oilseed crops also helps loosen hardpan and can be direct-seeded or no-till farmed, reducing soil erosion impacts and breaking disease cycles. The brassica oilseeds contain a high oil content which makes them a good candidate for producing feedstock oils for biodiesel. For example, spring canola contains upwards of 42 percent oil as compared to an oil content of about 20 percent for soybeans. A comparative table showing oil yields from various oil producing crops is shown below.

Oil Producing Crops
Plant Yield (seed) lbs/acre Biodiesel gal/acre Plant Yield (seed) lbs/acre Biodiesel gal/acre
Corn 7800 18 Safflower 1500 83
Oats 3600 23 Rice 6600 88
Cotton 1000 35 Sunflower 1200 100
Soybean 2000 48 Peanut 2800 113
Mustard 1400 61 Rapeseed 2000 127
Camelina 1500 62 Coconut** 3600 287
Crambe 1000 65 Oil palm** 6251 635
** Yield given in lbs of oil/acre
Source: Biofuel Variety Trials Factsheet, USDA-ARS and WSU, Prosser, WA

Additional Resources:

Oilseed crushers

Crushers are used to extract oil from oilseed. This involves a series of steps which can include mild heat treatment to precondition the seed prior to processing. Next the seed is crushed and flaked and then heated slightly to enhance oil extraction. The flakes are then pre-pressed in a screw press or expeller to reduce the oil content in the seed. For canola this step reduces the oil content from about 42% to 16-20%. The press cake is then subjected to one of two types of oil extraction to remove much of the remaining oil. Oil may be extracted using either hexane (“solvent”) extraction or by “cold-pressing” (also referred to as “expeller pressing”). The oil which is produced during the extraction process is referred to as “crude oil”.


Oilseeds such as canola, rape and mustard are generally not grown as primary crops, but can be used as a rotational crop in the cultivation of wheat or other grains. Farmers evaluate oilseeds profitability against other rotational crops. To plant oilseeds, a farmer must be convinced that the economic returns for these crops are at least as good as other alternatives. The value of oilseeds as a biodiesel feedstock depends upon a number of factors:

  • value of fossil diesel;
  • value of tax incentives;
  • value of seed meal;
  • value of glycerol (a co-product of biodiesel production);
  • cost of crushing oilseed; and
  • cost of processing seed oil into biodiesel.

While all of these factors are important, the development of higher value seed meal markets may be the most significant. As of now, canola meal is sold as an animal feed supplement. This market does not provide the economic returns needed by most growers to justify planting oilseeds. Instead higher value markets are needed-from increasing the value of the meal as an animal feed, to using it as a high value fertilizer, a biopesticide, as food for human consumption, or as a feedstock for other bioproducts. There is also an increasing demand from organic dairies for high value organic meal.

How We Operate

The Oklahoma Oilseed Commission identifies and coordinates state-wide programs for oilseed, oilseed resources, oilseed market development, oilseed promotion, and education relating to oilseed. Please take a look at our resources to see how our organization operates. The commission has been formed to help Oklahoma’s farmers. Read the following documents for more information on how the commission operates.