Washington State University will offer regional oilseed workshops this January, a university extension specialist says.

WSU has scheduled workshops for:

• Jan. 19 in Colfax.

• Jan. 21 in Wilbur.

• Jan. 26 in the Tri-Cities.

The workshops have been part of the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association conference in the last two years, but WSU regional extension specialist Karen Sowers said the workshops are returning to a more regional approach, focusing on topics specific to certain areas.

Canola acreage has decreased significantly this year due to drought and uncertainty surrounding local markets, Sowers said.

In Washington, planted canola increased from 15,000 acres in 2012 to 51,000 acres in 2014. Final statistics for 2015 will be available in February, but Sowers has heard estimates of a 75 percent decline in winter canola.

Sowers isn’t concerned by the drop.

“If it’s dry, it’s dry,” she said. “There is always a market available. It may not be in your backyard, but there’s always a market for canola and other oilseed crops.”

She expects an increase in spring canola due to the influence of the workshops and a stabilizing market. Viterra is now handling canola seed, oil and meal for Pacific Coast Canola in Warden, Wash., she said.

Demand for canola meal is continuous in Washington, Oregon and California, Sowers said.

Prices have been steady, ranging from 16 to 17 cents per pound, with price premiums for some types.

The workshops will emphasize the opportunities available to farmers who raise canola and other oilseed crops, including mustard, flax and rapeseed. The workshops cover alternative uses for oilseed crops, such as livestock grazing or harvesting for silage.

“It would benefit (growers) having an oilseed crop in their rotation regardless of where they’re farming,” Sowers said.



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