“The current guidelines on crop insurance,  don’t allow us to plant cotton behind our canola this year, but we feel like we can get the guidelines changed in the future, so we can go to that rotation, Price explains.

“We feel like we can grow 60-70 bushels of canola per acre on our farm. We are using a winter canola variety, Visby, from Rubisco Seeds. This variety seems to be well suited to our soils and climate, and looking at the yields Mike Garland has seen with other growers in the state, it looks like 60-70 bushels per acre should be a reasonable yield to target,” he adds.

In on-farm tests in North Carolina last year, data seem to validate Price’s outlook for 60-70 bushels per acre — maybe more.

The following are yields from canola and rapeseed plots grown by Phillip and Phil McClain near Statesville, N.C.  Rossini is a high erucic acid rapeseed (HEAR) variety and the others are winter canola varieties from Rubisco Seeds.

Rossini rapeseed produced 77.95 bushels per acre. Rally produced 86.19 bushels per acre, Flash produced 87.20 bushels per acre, Sitro was the top yielding canola variety at 91.75 bushels per acre, Safran produced 89.22 bushels per acre, and Hornet produced 89.91 bushels per acre.

The rapeseed and canola varieties were planted in the fall of 2010 and harvested on June 21, 2011.

Claire Caldbeck, owner of Philpot, Kentucky-based Rubisco Seeds Company says, “Over the past seven years in the Southeast, farm average yields from winter hybrid canola have steadily increased and typically range from 50 to 70 bushels per acre (1 bushel of canola equals 50 pounds).”

The national average for canola is only 30-35 bushels per acre, she adds.

“Since  2005, Brian Caldbeck, who provides agronomic support for Rubisco Seeds, has developed and refined production programs for winter canola throughout the Southeast that are compatible with the region’s climate, soils, rotations and equipment,” she adds.

Caldbeck says, “Seed supply for the 2012 season will be, as in other years, based on commercial farm results in conjunction with small plot research trials conducted via the National Winter Canola Variety Trial (NWCVT) network and regional university trials. We anticipate continued strong demand for seed in fall 2012.”

Price says he planted his canola on Oct. 18, which is several days earlier than he planted his wheat crop. It allowed us to plant the canola and go straight into planting wheat, he adds.

“I think recommendations are for 15-inch rows in canola, but we weren’t set up to plant it that way. We planted canola in 30-inch rows, which matches up with our 7.5-inch row spacing for wheat.

“Our canola came up, we got a good stand, but we were concerned about it lapping the 30-inch rows to help with grass and weed control. Now (early April), you can’t walk through the canola, so we are very pleased with the way it has grown out,” the South Carolina grower says.

Price used a John Deere 1720 vacuum planter and to adapt to the tiny canola seed, he ordered and added sugar beet discs. That’s the reason he planted Visby variety canola, because it has the biggest seed size.

“I think I was getting 8-9 seed per foot of row and used about two pounds of seed per acre. We bought our seeds through Southern States, who bought it direct from Rubisco Seeds in Kentucky,” Price says.