Amidst the amber waves of wheat changing to stubble, green corn leaves to brown, and the fields of potatoes and onions pulled from the ground, the golden crop of canola has changed to stems and is prepared for harvest as well. 

Unfortunately across the Pacific Northwest, the canola crop is a mixed bag for yields. The spring canola crop had a tough go in 2023 with dry weather conditions to battle through and a harsh wave of insects impacting the crop. Karen Sowers is the executive director for the PNW Canola Association and credits another tough drought in all four coverage states to the lower than expected canola crop. 

“There were pockets where there was rain, some of it timely, some of it delayed harvest,” Sowers explained. “Things were all over the board for winter canola but was better for sure with mostly average, even a couple above average. Spring canola had far fewer fields at average and way more less than average yield.” 

Sowers also puts the blame on a harsh insect year, even going as far as saying never seen before pressure. The major pests being diamondback moths and flea beetles, and the different timing of their invasion contributed to the yield losses. The moth's larva feed on the green canola plant causing damage, while the flea beetles feed on the plant early in the canola growing season and continue to eat on the leaves causing early pod drying and potential shatter. 

The combination of multiple years of drought and the waves of insects definitely set things up for a rough year for spring canola. But if the canola yields are down, shouldn’t the price go up? The canola market price is based on the Canadian market and other oil seeds, like soybeans. The lower production of canola may not impact the oil seed markets with increased production in other locations and other types of crops.  

Sower’s notes that the positive in the canola market is the price has been steady for several years so canola producers do not have to worry about market volatility like other cash crops experience. 

Source: PNW Canola Association & PNW Ag Network

WA Lakefront Paradise Packs Perfect Recreation for End of Summer

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