This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
-


“We could double our production of canola in Oklahoma and still


not meet the demand.” - Gene Nuens, executive director of Producers Cooperative Oil Mill


can become resistant to pesticides. Disease can fl ourish in fi elds that grow the same crop year after year.


“Some fi elds have been growing wheat for well over 40 years,” Godsey says. “These fi elds become tired and need to be rotated with another crop that can be used to clean up the fi elds.” One of the primary benefi ts of planting canola is that the seed has been bred to be “Roundup Ready.” This means farmers can use Roundup herbicide on the canola plants to help reduce rye grass and other weeds from wheat fi elds. Roundup will kill these weeds without disturbing the canola plant. Canola has a taproot that grows much deeper


than wheat. The root helps break up the hardpan soil and adds nutrients to the ground. Canola can be grown “no till,” which helps save fuel—a big con- sideration with $4-per-gallon diesel.


According to El Reno farmer Jerry Lingo, who has been growing canola for several years, rotating canola with wheat has made a noticeable improve- ment in his land.


“Dockage used to be a big problem for us. The elevator owner used to dock us because of the rye grass and other yield problems. After growing cano- la in a fi eld for a single year, we see a 20 percent improvement in yields and a reduction in dockage at the elevator,” Lingo says.


Market for Canola


Prior to 2009, Oklahoma farmers were forced to ship their canola crop to North Dakota for process- ing. There wasn’t a local market for the seed, and Oklahoma elevator operators would not receive, store or ship the product. In the meantime world- wide demand for canola has grown substantially. Enter the Producers Cooperative Oil Mill (PCOM). Located south of downtown Oklahoma City and easily visible while driving on I-40, PCOM has crushed cottonseed at their downtown Oklahoma City plant since 1944. Seeing the growth of canola demand worldwide, and the dearth of crushing plants in the southern plains states, PCOM decided in 2007 to make a $10-million investment in the equipment needed to crush canola seed.


“High-protein canola meal is highly sought after


by the dairy industry. It is used to feed dairy cattle and they love it,” Nuens says. “One hundred per- cent of the canola seed is used. Nothing is wasted.”


Canola Oil Use


Gene Nuens with Producers Cooperative Oil Mill (PCOM) stands by canola seed that is awaiting processing. PCOM uses these same sheds to store cotton seed during the cotton harvest.


“Our fi rst canola seed crush was in 2008,” Gene Nuens, executive director of PCOM, explains. “We have now completed our fourth crush.” One of the challenges PCOM and farmers fi rst encountered was the lack of “delivery points” for the farmers. In 2008, local grain elevators were not set up to handle canola seed.


“One of my jobs was to work with the local eleva- tors and get them to take delivery of the seed from farmers,” Nuens says. “Our fi rst year we purchased directly from the producer, but we have been able to migrate to where we are now buying from the elevator operator and they buy from the farmer, which is much better for everyone.” With the rapid growth of canola planting in Oklahoma, the market has matured and there are now multiple buyers for canola seed. Once PCOM purchases the canola seed, it is de- livered to their mill just south of Oklahoma City and stored in the large sheds that are used to store cottonseed in the fall. From there it goes through what is called a “fi rst crush.”


“We get about 11 percent of the weight in oil from the fi rst crush with a mechanical crush similar to what you might see at a feed store,” Nuens ex- plains. “This is where we get the virgin canola oil.” After the fi rst crush, the leftover meal is heated, compressed, and mixed with an extraction solvent to extract up to 42 percent of the canola seed into oil. What is left is a very high-protein meal that is used in cattle food.


While canola oil has been used in a wide variety of markets, from steam engine lubrication to bio- diesel to food, the primary usage nowadays is hu- man food consumption. After studies from organizations such as the American Dietetic Association showing the heart-healthy benefi ts of using canola oil in cooking, the demand by restau- rants and consumers has skyrocketed. At Cheever’s Restaurant in Oklahoma City, Executive Chef Brian McGrew sings canola’s praises.


“I spent about 10 years out on the coast, and one of the chefs I look to for industry leadership recom- mends it because of its multi-usage,” McGrew says. “For example, not only do I cook with it, but I’ll use canola oil mixed with a fragrance as an air fresh- ener. We use blended olive oil/canola oil for our main cooking oil at our restaurant.” Canola oil is also a very desirable feedstock for biodiesel. But with the rise in demand and resultant price caused by the human food consumption in- dustry, canola has become almost too valuable for use as biodiesel.


Future of Canola Oil in Oklahoma


The future of canola in Oklahoma looks promis- ing. The increased demand from the cooking indus- try means that prices should continue to rise in the foreseeable future.


“We could double our production of canola in Oklahoma and still not meet the demand,” Nuens says.


While driving across Oklahoma this spring and enjoying the patchwork of bright yellow fields mixed in with the green wheat, soybean and corn fields, know that the color of money for many Oklahoma farmers now includes a bit of yellow to go along with the green.


JANUARY 2013 19


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140