Newfoundland’s first canola field seeded

Premier Dwight Ball, provincial grain research specialist Dr. Vanessa Kavanagh and Christopher Mitchelmore, minister for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency, watch the seeding of Newfoundland and Labrador’s first canola field. (

Provincial crop researchers in Newfoundland and Labrador have scored a first for the province this spring by seeding its first-ever canola field.

Dignitaries including Premier Dwight Ball and Christopher Mitchelmore, the minister responsible for the provincial Forestry and Agrifoods Agency, attended the seeding Friday near Pasadena, about 30 km east of Corner Brook.

Agency researchers and extension staff seeded 30 acres as a test project at their Pynn’s Brook research station and expect to harvest their crop in late August and/or early September.

According to provincial research specialist Vanessa Kavanagh, the test acres are planted to an InVigor variety, L140P, with L135C as a comparison. L140P is billed as suitable for all growing zones in Canada, while L135C is billed as suitable for growing zones in Quebec that have “confirmed clubroot presence.”

Canola, the agency said, has been grown in all Canadian provinces with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador. A few thousand acres have previously been seeded in other provinces in Atlantic Canada.

“If our ongoing research into canola production proves successful, then it could very well become an important crop for our province,” Ball said in a release.

The agency, now an arm of the Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development, said the success of its cereal grain program has so far helped identify “exciting opportunities” which are now part of a crop rotation system on the island portion of the province.

Grain and forage research so far “has led to a decrease in the cost of production as well as an increase in milk production for dairy farmers,” Mitchelmore said in the same release.

“Canola has the potential to become a component of livestock feed and is the next logical step for research in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

“The province’s grain research program has been a game changer for the agriculture sector,” Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture president Melvin Rideout said in the province’s release.

“As a commercial farmer, I see firsthand the importance of this research to our industry and canola can definitely be the next positive step for our province.”

Annual crops, such as forage, soybeans and canola “have the potential to transform the feed and food industry in ways that were not possible five years ago,” the agency said.

Agency staff cultivate and evaluate new crops, such as grains, soybeans, wine grapes, partridgeberries, cranberries and blueberries at Pynn’s Brook. Sites at St. John’s and Glenwood are dedicated to potato research. — Network

A better chance of rain was expected late this week in portions of the drought-stricken U.S. Midwest, bringing some relief to the struggling corn and soybean crops, an agricultural meteorologist said on Wednesday."The U.S. weather model has a little wetter forecast than yesterday, but overall it looks like a similar pattern in August that we saw at the end of July," said Jason Nicholls, meteorologist for AccuWeather.Nicholls predicted 0.25 to 0.75 inch of rain could fall from now into the weekend in the northern and eastern Midwest, with about 70 per cent coverage. From 0.10 to 0.50 inch of rain was forecast for the central and southern Midwest, with 50 per cent coverage.Another front was expected later next week, bringing similar amounts of rain, Nicholls said, but temperatures were forecast to soar again after cooling off a little over the weekend."Sunday will be cooler with highs in the upper 80s degrees Fahrenheit, but it will get hot again with highs in the 90s and a few 100s," he said.Commodity Weather Group (CWG) on Wednesday also forecast a wetter outlook for the southern Midwest for Thursday and Friday, and said the chance of rain in the Delta had improved."The best chances for relief to soybeans are in Nebraska, the southern half of Illinois and Indiana, and the southern third of Ohio," said CWG's meteorologist Joel Widenor.Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn and soybean futures prices were driven to record highs in late July as the worst drought in more than a half century spread throughout the country's heartland.Prices for each were down more than one per cent on Wednesday on the outlooks for some showers in the parched corn and soybean growing fields.The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday rated 24 per cent of the corn crop in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, and 29 per cent of the soybean crop in good-to-excellent shape, both down 2 per centage points from the previous week.The ratings for each were the worst since the comparable week in 1988, another year of severe drought in the nation's crop-growing mid-section.Analysts and crop experts said further declines in condition ratings could be expected next week because the weather still stressed each crop.



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