Mike Stamm, K-State Canola Breeder

(Jim) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host, and we’re in luck because we’re on the Agronomy Farm at Kansas State University. And I hope you get your cup of coffee and come on back because we’re going to be talking to Mike Stamm, our Canola Breeder here at K-State and he’s going to be telling us about the breeding program and also some other production practices about canola. So grab your cup of coffee and hurry on back.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Jim) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer your host. We’re in luck because we’re on the Agronomy Farm at Kansas State University and we also have Mike Stamm with us. And Mike Stamm is our Canola Breeder. And it is a chilly morning and it’s hard for me to talk already. So, Mike tell us the difference between canola oil and rapeseed, canola and rapeseed. (Mike) OK, canola has less than two percent uric acid in the oil and less than 30 micro-moles grams of glucosinolate in the meal. So, because of those two qualities in the oil and the meal, canola and rapeseed differ. We like to say that all canola is rapeseed, but not all rapeseed is canola, to remember it easily. (Jim) Rapeseed is more industrial and canola is edible. (Mike) That’s right, right. We use canola oil primarily as a food grade oil. We also can use it in biodiesel. The prussic acid in rapeseed is used for both biodiesel and as lubricants. (Jim) So, in the state of Kansas, we’ve had canola projects for quite a while now. It’s pushing what 20-25 years? (Mike) Yea, we’ve been breeding winter canola at K-State now for about 25 years. (Jim) So, let’s talk about canola production in the state of Kansas and Oklahoma. Where is it grown? Why is it grown and why should you grow it? Talk a little bit about that. (Mike) Winter canola is primarily grown in south central Kansas and then throughout the state of Oklahoma. This past year we had about 45,000 acres, planted acres. This past fall we’re probably around that 25,000 to 30,000 acres. We don’t have a real good feel just yet. They are down just a little bit. But we’re looking at growing winter canola in the primary wheat belt of the state where a lot of continuous wheat is grown, so we can grow it in rotation. That’s why it’s a really good fit in Oklahoma and why we’ve seen more acres in Oklahoma where they’re pushing 100,000 to a high of almost 300,000 here a couple of years ago. (Jim) So why is the, I think I know the answer, but why is it down? Why is the acreage down? (Mike) Acreage is down primarily because of the price. Most of our commodities of course, the price is down over this last year. So, we have that kind of going against us. And then when you’re growing an alternative crop, which canola still is for the southern Great Plains, guys typically kind of go back to what they know. And so… (Jim) If they’re going to lose their rear ends, it’s going to be on something they know how to do it. Right? (Mike) That’s right. So, we’ve seen a decline because of the price. But then we’ve had a couple of tough years with the crop, primarily due to some survival issues. The winter of ’13-’14 was bitterly cold, a winter that we really haven’t experienced for a number of years. That really tested the crop. (Jim) Well, that November of what…? (Mike) That was last year. Yea. We had a terrible drop in temperatures last year where we were in the 70s and then this bitter cold came in and dropped temperatures down to 17 degrees in a matter of 24 hours. That pretty much put the crop in a state of shock and we didn’t really recover from that in some of the areas last year. So, that kind of hurt acres again. (Jim) Well Mike, don’t run off. I know you want to, get some ear muffs on. Folks, now is a good time to get a cup of coffee and come on back and we’ll talk with Mike Stamm some more.

(Jim) Welcome back. I hope you got that hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. We could use some right now. And with us we have Mike Stamm. And Mike we were talking about survival or the lack thereof, some problems we’ve had in the last couple of years. And that’s been the biggest, one of the biggest problems we’ve had over the years. So, let’s kind of kneel down here and talk about these plots that you have here and talk about winter survival and how, what you look for. (Mike) OK. (Jim) So I see a good one right there. (Mike) Yea, we see a really good example of survival here. You know canola overwinters in the rosette stage. (Jim) Right. (Mike) That’s the stage that we’re in now. And what we see in the rosette stage are these larger, older leaves here at the bottom of the plant that will often slough off over the winter. (Jim) Sure. (Mike) You’ll lose most of this above ground biomass and that’s kind of what we’re seeing here. (Jim) Yea, these got smoked here that last few weeks. (Mike) Right. Right. And if you would have been out here in December you wouldn’t have even known that… (Jim) I was this winter, it was almost knee high. (Mike) It was incredible how much growth was out here. But we see a really good example of a plant that will overwinter successfully, we hope, depending on what the weather does now. But we have the older leaves and then the newer leaves here in the center. This is what we call the crown. (Jim) The rosette. (Mike) The rosette yea. and as long as that crown remains green like this throughout the winter, when temperatures warm they get into, we’re in the average temperature range of 40 degrees nighttime and day temperature average of 40 this crop should overwinter. So, this is a really good example of what we want to see. We want to see that crown very close to the ground. (Jim) Not frozen. (Mike) The ground is froze. But we want to see that crown close to the ground, hugging the ground because that’s a great position for the crop to overwinter. (Jim) OK, so what you’re saying is the further away that crown, which we have right here, is above the surface, the more likely it is to winter with no damage. (Mike) One of the things we look at is of the different varieties is the crown height. There’s not a perfect correlation between crown heights in the fall
versus winter survival, but typically if that crown is hugging the ground like that, that’s very good. There’s a very nice root system underneath this plant as well. We’d dig it up if it wasn’t frozen. (Jim) Frozen. (Mike)
Frozen. But you’d see a tap root and roots and so forth. (Jim) So, what kind of a stand loss can you get and what’s an acceptable stand loss or winter damage and still come up with a pretty good crop? (Mike) Typically we don’t want to see any stand loss because that helps when it comes to harvest with balancing out the maturity. (Jim) And flowing into the combine. (Mike) Right, right. You don’t want big gaps in the field. But I’ve seen crops that have had 30 percent survival produce just as much as a crop that’s overwintered at 100 percent survival. (Jim) Wow. (Mike) It’s an incredible plant for its ability to branch out. But that winter-kill has to be even across the field. It can’t just be big pockets here and there. You want kind of an even distribution of the winter-kill in order for that reduced stand to produce a good crop. (Jim) Mike I think it’s time for us to go get some hot chocolate. (Mike) Sounds good. (Jim) Folks, we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer and with us we have our Canola Breeder at K-State Mike Stamm. And we’ve been talking about survival of canola, being one of the bigger problems that we’ve had recently or in production in general. Let’s talk more about production practices. When do you plant? How much? What kind of fertilizer? That sort of thing. (Mike) OK. Well our typical planting window for Kansas is the month of September. So we’ll start in the early part of the month in northern Kansas and work our way down to the southern part of the state for the latter part of September. That’s really the target month. It’s a pretty narrow planting window, so you have to kind of keep that in mind. There’s a bit of a difference there with it and wheat. (Jim) Sorry to interrupt you Mike but 30 years ago, 35 years ago when we were taking about planting it was in August. Is this an improvement in the breeding for winter hardiness? Or growth? (Mike) Yea. (Jim) In the fall. (Mike) We understand more about how it will perform if it’s planted too early versus planted in that optimum planting window of September. So, we’ve learned a lot in terms of our production practices. Some of the things that we’ve looked at are different row spacings of canola. It’s a real plastic crop so it can be planted anywhere from a 7 1/2 inch row to a 30 inch row. So some producers have moved to 30 inch rows so they can plant in no till, manage the residue using row units, trash whipper and those kinds of things. (Jim) Because we’ve had bad luck basically. Intuitively you would think that that crown would be protected…(Mike) Right. (Jim) …in narrow rows in that residue, but that hasn’t been the case. (Mike) Hasn’t been the case. There’s a micro climate effect of that residue in the seed row that buffers the temperatures. And temperatures are just colder when there’s residue there. (Jim) Right, right. OK, so continue with the production aspects. (Mike) OK, most growers are planting it in conventional tillage. We have to have conventional tillage practices that are good for winter canola, which means we’re not over tilling the soil. It is a small seeded crop. It’s planted at a half to an inch deep. So,
we need to have shallow tillage practices, use more minimum tillage I would say than conventional tillage. Those are good practices to use. (Jim) Seeding rate? (Mike) Seeding rate starts to get a little bit complicated because we’re starting to see more hybrids being introduced. We’ve typically been an open pollinated… (Jim) Right. (Mike)… cultivar market. Now we’re seeing more hybrids. We found that we can plant the hybrid at a reduced seeding rate, versus the open pollinated varieties. So, we’ve done a lot of experimenting with seeding rates in both open pollinated and hybrids. So, our typical seeding rate, I would say for an open pollinated variety is around five pounds per acre. For a hybrid we’re looking at more like three pounds per acre. Just because of the hybrid vigor and the branching ability of those types. (Jim) OK. My cameraman’s waving at me, so hang on. Folks, come right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer and I’m chilly. And with us we have Mike Stamm, our Canola Breeder and we were talking about some of the production practices producers are using, but we didn’t…we want to talk about fertility and maybe some weed control. So, let’s talk fertility a little bit. (Mike) So, our general recommendations for fertility are around 100 pounds of nitrogen. Your P and your K are very similar to what they are for winter wheat. For sulfur, we want at least 20-30 pounds of S available. Sulfur is really important because it is an oil seed, so we need sulfur to produce both the protein and the oil in the seed. So, that’s very, very critical and something we need to be aware of with canola. (Jim) So 100 pounds is that just a blanket, or is that a target for 1,200 pounds or a 2,000 pound yield? So what are we talking about for a target yields? (Mike) Target yield for 100 pounds would be around 2,000 pounds to the acre or 40 bushel. I tell producers, that’s the minimum yield that we really want to shoot for. So guys that want to push the yield envelope sometimes do 125-150 even for canola. Canola will take nitrogen. It’s not afraid to use it. (Jim) So, is that a pre-plant or so you do it like wheat do some post-emerge or top-dress in the spring? What do you do there? (Mike) My general recommendation is to do about a third in the fall and two thirds in the spring. (Jim) Really? (Mike) We don’t want to over fertilize canola in the fall. We can get that excessive fall growth that we talked about that can be detrimental to survival. We do want to have some fall fertility, that’s critical for overwintering. (Jim) Sure. (Mike) But a third of that nitrogen up front and then the rest top dressed in the spring is a good general practice. (Jim) OK. Weed control? (Mike) Weed control is really important with this crop. That’s why we’re rotating it with wheat, is to control the grassy weed species in wheat that can be often hard to control with the herbicides that we have for wheat. So, we can use products like Assure, Select, post for grass control in canola. We also have Roundup Ready Canola which it’s still a very useful trait for this crop in that wheat belt in southern Kansas on into Oklahoma, where they have major issues with grassy weed species like feral rye and rescue grass and downy brome cheat and all those that whole class of grassy weed species. So, Roundup is also a really good product for controlling mustards in canola and that can be quite a challenge. (Jim) Yea, it would be very difficult. Well, what do producers have to worry about with carryover in that rotation? I’m thinking a wheat herbicide. (Mike) Right, right. We do have to be aware of the sulfonylurea herbicides which can have long plant back restrictions. For winter canola we’re talking about herbicides like Finesse, Maverick, Olympus. We have developed sulfonylurea carryover tolerance that can be planted. We can plant varieties that have the sulfonylurea herbicide carryover tolerance. You can avoid that plant back restriction for the SU herbicides by planting one of those varieties. (Jim) Well that is a big issue knowing producers have to think about that in the rotation if they’re going to canola. Stay with us we have one more thing to cover. That’s the breeding program. Folks, stay right with us. We’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I see you got a cup of coffee. And with us we have Mike Stamm, our Canola Breeder. Mike, we’re obviously in a nursery here and it’s kind of burnt back pretty good. Tell us about the canola breeding program here at K-State. (Mike) So, like we touched on earlier, we’ve been breeding winter canola at K-State now for about 25 years. And I would say probably one of our greatest contributions to the winter canola industry in the U.S. is improvement in winter hardiness. We had to start basically from scratch, because we had nothing that would survive our winters. (Jim) I remember years ago we were bringing varieties in from Poland. (Mike) Yea. And you can see here that we’ve made quite an improvement in survival. So, that’s definitely been one of the biggest contributions of our program. Yield is also very important. Farmers want yield. Oil content is very, very important for this crop. Our crushers now have oil discounts. So if the oil percentage isn’t high enough we have…they get a discount on the price. And so we needed to develop better varieties that produce more oil per acre, higher percentages of oil, so farmers don’t get those discounts at the crusher. That’s really important for this crop. We’re also interested in herbicide tolerance. So, we have a Roundup portion of our breeding program. We’re also interested in conventional canola. And we’re standing in our conventional nursery here today. Our Roundup Ready nursery is south of town. We keep those two separate as to not have any cross contamination in materials and so forth. So, those are really important traits to us. (Jim) Well, Mike what about diseases? I know up north in Canada there are a lot of problems with what – blackleg and some of those diseases. So, what are you doing as far as disease resistance? What are our disease problems here? (Mike) Our primary disease, of course, is blackleg and that’s pretty much everywhere that winter canola is grown in the region. So, it’s something that we have to face. And it is the most detrimental disease too. (Jim) But crop rotation like every four years, in the field every four years. (Mike) That’s right. Three to four years is typical for southern Great Plains farmers. We’re looking at developing resistance to blackleg. We’re actually increasing our first blackleg tolerant variety in the greenhouse right now for potential release here in the near future. But we have to have varieties that have blackleg resistance because I think it’s going to become the major issue that we face in terms of diseases as acres continue to grow in the southern plains. Other disease that we see oftentimes are sclerotinia, white mold. Unfortunately there isn’t any resistant variety to sclerotinia right now in winter canola, so we have to use fungicides which are very effective at controlling that disease. We also see a little bit of alternaria and other things like that but the two primary ones are black leg and sclerotinia. (Jim) Number of plots? Number of crosses? And how long does it take to release a variety? (Mike) Right. We do anywhere from 100 to 200 crosses in a year. And our typical time frame for releasing a variety is around 10-12 years. So, it’s quite an investment. We have varieties in all stages of development, from the initial cross all the way to the finished product. We have two varieties that we’re hoping to release this coming summer. We have one that has shown enhanced winter hardiness, that’s the conventional. We also have one that is an SU carryover tolerant variety that we’re hoping to release as well. (Jim) Mike I really appreciate you taking time on this cold, cold day. (Mike) You bet. (Jim) Thank you for joining us. And folks, thank you for joining us as well. And don’t forget next week about this same time, we’ll have another issue of That’s My Farm. See you then.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.