North Carolina isn’t the only state in the southeast with canola/rapeseed production. Robert Davis, CEO of AgStrong, based in Bowersville, Georgia explains that AgStrong has been contracting canola production in Georgia for a few years now and now are in their second season in South Carolina:
“Last year we contracted and the farmers harvested about 2500 acres of non-gmo canola. This year its up to over 5000 acres.
The delivery point is in Dillon, SC and also Lake City, SC.
It is canola and not rapeseed. We work specifically with edible non-gmo canola oil as opposed to the industrial oil.
This is something we are expanding on all of the time. We see canola being a very good fit into rotation and it provides a good yield for the growers so we see that it could potentially grow to 40-50,000 acres. We would hope to build a local processing plant that the farmers could have the delivery point and the ability to participate if they see it being advantageous.
We see ourselves as a compliment to winter wheat. We are encouraging the farmers to maintain a balance. We like to see the canola at no closer than a three year rotation, so they would be one year in canola and at least two years in winter wheat.
Primarily we have seen producers double crop soybeans, but also in south Georgia they have been doing very well with cotton behind the canola.
We do see canola as having excellent long term potential in the area. The yields are nearly 100% higher than the yields in the large commodity producing region of Canada and the northern great plains. It’s a great fit for the southern farmers to add into their rotation. It works well with the diverse climate that we have here in the south.”
For more on our alternative crop series, including flax, and sorghum, click here. Tomorrow we’ll hear from a second-year rapeseed grower on Today’s Topic.