The trash sweeps help produce a good seed bed for the canola. He also plants canola between rows of the previous corn crop, which eliminates any mistakes he made planting the corn earlier in the spring.

“I used the GPS system on our tractor to plant canola the first year. By following the corn rows, it was easier to plant without the GPS system on this year. We use the GPS extensively on other crops, but planting canola in the corn row middles just makes it easier — takes away any errors in setting up the GPS system on the previous crop,” he says.

“We also learned in our first crop of canola that the plants will tell you when they need fertilizer and when they need fungicide. We used the same amount of fertilizer on all our canola, but as the crop began to grow quickly in the spring, we could see light spots in some fields.

 “We came back with additional nitrogen and these lighter spots quickly caught up with the greener canola” he adds.

Sclerotinia can be a problem in canola — we’ve had some, but not much of a problem with it so far, he says. However, it’s easy to spot when you have the disease in a field and easy to manage with fungicides, he adds.

Coleman plants three different Rubisco varieties: Safran, which is a late maturing variety, Kronos, which is a mid-maturing variety and Dimension, which is a low vernilization, early maturing variety. The idea is to spread maturity out to give time to work in other crops.

And, the primary reason is to reduce risk of damage from weather patterns that typically generate high springtime temperatures and to take better advantage of sporadic rain that is common during the latter part of the growing season in the area.

Claire Caldbeck of Rubisco Seeds concurs with Coleman’s use of several hybrids for risk management and notes that evaluations of winter canola germplasm in the Southeast were rekindled in 2004.

Research trials and commercial grower results demonstrated very quickly the adaptability and impressive field performance of conventional canola hybrids.