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NMSU?s Clovis Science Center reports on benefits of canola, cover crops

A winter crop in Eastern New Mexico and West Texas that is increasing in economic value ? canola ? will be the focus of a special field day May 10 at New Mexico State University?s Agricultural Science Center at Clovis.


Two men in a field of flowering canola plants
New Mexico State University?s Agricultural Science Center at Clovis and the Curry County Cooperative Extension Service are hosting a free field day to address the potential of winter canola as an alternative crop May 10. (NMSU photo)

?With declining irrigation resources and increasing climatic uncertainties, diversified cropping systems with better adapted, low water using crops offer many benefits,? said Sangu Angadi, a crop stress physiologist at the Clovis Science Center.

?Winter canola has become a more important crop in New Mexico over the past several years,? Angadi said. ?Farmers are using it as a winter crop and finding it to be well adapted to New Mexico weather and soils. It is efficient with water and the market for canola is growing.?

Interest in canola is increasing in New Mexico and West Texas with around 2,000 acres planted this year and is expected to increase in the coming years. Farmers are also interested in learning the forage potential of the crop.

Research in New Mexico and West Texas has shown that including winter canola, a broad leaf crop, in the rotation offers many benefits including better grassy weed management in this area?s cropping systems. Canola meal, left over material after high quality edible oil is extracted from seed, is an excellent source of protein for dairy cattle in the region. It is currently imported from Canada.

With U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Alternative Crops program funding, research is being conducted at the Clovis Science Center to develop winter canola into an economically and agronomically viable alternative crop for the region. The field tour will be a good place to learn benefits and challenges of growing winter canola in the region.

Registration for the event starts at 8 a.m. and the program will start at 8:30 a.m. A lunch program will be at noon.

At 8:45 a.m., Angadi and Sultan Begna, crop physiologist, will start the field presentations with ?Canola Adaptability and Forage Quality.?

At 9:45 a.m., Brian Schutte and Christopher Landau, weed physiologists, will present ?Weed Management in Canola.?

At 10:25 a.m., NMSU Curry County Cooperative Extension Service Agent Luther Dunlap will speak on ?Dry Land Canola Production.?

Also planned for the special field day will be a presentation at 10:55 a.m. focused on cover crops, by Assistant Professor/Agronomist Rajan Ghimire, and a look at sugar cane aphid management at 11:30 a.m. by NMSU Agronomy Entomologist Jane Pierce.

The science center is located 13 miles north of Clovis and the map to the center can be accessed at http://clovissc.nmsu.edu.

For additional information, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, please contact Angadi (angadis@nmsu.edu) at 575-985-2292.