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Canola harvest underway

Hale County grower harvests his first canola crop.

Hale County grower Bryan Curry planted dryland canola for the first time, as an alternative crop to wheat. Curry planted the tiny Roundup Ready seeds (similar in size to a poppy seed) one inch apart on 15-inch and 30-inch rows. Little did he know, that 2017's winter drought would roll over into spring, hurting his yields. 

Winter canola is an oilseed crop, first grown in the Southwest in Oklahoma. Canola, when followed by wheat, is credited for increased yields and because of its tap-root system, leaves the ground mellow for fall-planted wheat. 

Curry, along with his landowner, Gilda Bryant, of Amarillo, Texas, and his dog Gracie, harvested the cool-season crop.  

"The canola grew very well with only two-and-half-inches of rain since it was planted. It’s a very good crop for dry times," says Bryant. "It has a very deep tap root so it was able to get the moisture that it needed. And now that he has cut it, it’s going to keep the soil from blowing when the winds get up. At some point, he might be able to plant another crop in between those rows for no-till farming."

The crop averaged about 18 bushels an acre. “The edges weren’t so hot,” Curry explains. “There just wasn’t much yield. Most of the yield came from the center of the fields.”

Though Curry didn't produce the bushels he'd hoped for, he says, he'll try it again next year.

Read Texas grower plants winter canola as alternative to wheat

Facts about canola: http://www.uscanola.com/what-is-canola/

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