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Rapeseed Works Well in NC Farmers

Just beginning its second year of state-wide production, rapeseed is being added to several farms as a rotation crop. James Powers, St. Pauls, NC planted 34 acres of rapeseed in the 2011-12 crop year:

“We were looking for something new to try to diversify and I attended this rape seed meeting and afterwards I decided to try it.”

Powers explains that he planted it in several different locations on his farm to see where it worked best:

“I tried it on some marginal land as well as some of our better land and just tried different areas.”

As far as yields were concerned, Powers said he fell a little short of average due to the weather:

“I was close to 2300 pounds, but on one field I had a hail storm and I think that contributed.”

Powers explains that the biggest challenge he had was getting the populations correct:

“Everything went smoothly, the planting and the harvesting. My biggest problem was getting the seeding rate, but this year with a little experience I didn’t have any problems. Its such a small seed to try to meter out and we had to high a population last year.”

Powers grew rapeseed in addition to winter wheat:

“We grew both. We tried to see how it would do with wheat. Initially they told us it would come off before the wheat, but it was an unusual season last year so our rape seed came off during the middle of our wheat harvest.”

This year Powers planted sunflowers behind the rapeseed, this year he plans to plant soybeans. This year he’s increased his rapeseed acreage to about 130:

“So far its gone well. It’s a little behind what it was last year because we didn’t have the rain.”

All in all, Powers says, rapeseed is looking to be a good fit for his farm:

“I was very pleased with it last year, even on the marginal land it did well.”

For more on our alternative crop series. click here is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.