In March, he sprayed the rapeseed with a combination of Quadris and Karate. He found a small area of sclerotinia in one of his rapeseed fields, and knowing how devastating the disease can be on peanuts he sprayed the fungicide-insecticide combination.

“We were spraying fungicides on wheat at that time anyway, so it was easy enough to move directly into the rapeseed field,” he says.

After the fact, he learned that sclerotinia that infects rapeseed is different from the type that can cause devastating yield losses in peanuts.

The bright yellow flowers that covered the rapeseed plants drew a lot of attention from people who drove past the field. “We got all kinds of questions about the flowers we were growing,” Powers laughs. The number of bees the rapeseed field attracted was another topic of interest for the North Carolina grower. “There were literally thousands of bees working the rapeseed flowers. I guess we were helping the guys with beehives, too,” he says.

The North Carolina grower is growing the rapeseed as part of a contract with Technology Crops International. The company is headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C. They have made a concerted effort over the past three years to develop an interest among North Carolina farmers to grow rapeseed.

The push to increase rapeseed production in the Carolinas comes at the same time companies like Georgia-based AgStrong are pushing for increased canola acreage. Neither canola nor rapeseed has been grown extensively in the Carolinas, and there is considerable confusion as to how they are different.

Canola is rapeseed that includes a group of varieties with different production capabilities. Rapeseed contains erucic acid, which makes its oil less desirable for use in the food industry.

A group of Canadian plant breeders developed a low erucic acid variety of rapeseed and identified it with the acronym canola, which stands for Canadian oil low acid.