In recent years the neon yellow fields of canola have become more and more common, but they have never been as common as they were this spring and summer. For many reasons, 2020 will always be remembered as an eventful year, one notable event you will probably not see on the evening news is that 80,000 acres were planted to canola and spring canola for the 2019-2020 growing season and that 77,000 acres of canola were harvested in the summer and fall of 2020. Looking back in time to the early 2000s, there were less than 10,000 acres grown in the state. The dramatic increase in acreage is due to many factors including economics and the agronomic benefits of soil health.
In a recent video titled, Building Soil Health with Canola Production, featuring many long-time canola growers from Eastern Washington, the Pacific Northwest Canola Association highlights some of the benefits of adding canola to traditional winter wheat-fallow and winter wheat – spring wheat – spring legume rotations. A few of the primary reasons growers like growing canola are increased infiltration, breaking disease cycles, and grassy weed control. Canola is known for its large taproots that can help break up hardpans in the soil and increase infiltration. The increased infiltration of water into the soil can reduce the risk of erosion and improve the soil’s ability to provide water to subsequent crops. If you would like to learn more about why more growers are turning to canola you can find the full video, and others, produced by the Pacific Northwest Canola Association on their website.