For years, farmers have heard about growing canola in Georgia. But there was never a big local market. Canola was a niche contract crop with a broad profit potential that was always just around the corner. Now, the corner is here.
Georgia farmers may now be able to grow this winter crop at world prices and then some. Two Georgia processing plants are making plans to crush canola next year.
World markets close to home
"Buying points across Georgia are to be used to support local purchasing," said Randy Hudson, the University of Georgia canola coordinator. Hudson is an Extension Service scientist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
"We've been told a positive basis above world prices might be used as an incentive to attract growers," he said. "For years we've said this crop would be sustainable if growers get world prices. Now there's a chance for prices above those levels."
Tour shows canola's promise
Potential growers can see the bright promise of canola firsthand March 30 in the Georgia Canola Progress Tour, Hudson said.
The tour will begin with a field day at the Southwest Branch Experiment Station in Plains, Ga., at 9:30 a.m. "Then we'll travel across southwest Georgia and visit four production areas," he said.
County agents, Extension Service scientists, industry experts and growers will tell about aspects of canola production. Lunch will be provided. The tour will end at 3:30 p.m.
Growers, innovators should tour
Hudson is urging the state's farmers to join the tour.
"Our growers are all asking about alternative crops," he said. "This could be the one they're looking for."
To learn more about the canola field day and tour, contact your county Extension Service office. Or call (912) 386-3424.
(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)