Mike Stamm

(Kyle Bauer) Hi, this is Kyle Bauer. I have the opportunity to visit with Mike Stamm. Mike is a canola breeder and has been a canola breeder for a number of years at Kansas State University. Mike, how long has it been? (Mike Stamm) It’s been 11 years, believe it or not. I never would’ve thought I would be working with a crop like canola, but, I’ll tell you what, it’s been a lot of fun. (Kyle) You were the first? (Mike) No. Actually I was the third at K-State. The first lady was there just a few months, then my predecessor was there about 10 or 12 years, and now I’ve been carrying on for the last 11. (Kyle) I had no idea that canola had been bred that long out here. Of course, in the northern part of the country and in Canada, it’s been a crop for a long, long, long time. (Mike) Yes. They’ve been growing canola in the northern plains, in Canada since, really, the World War II era when they were using the oil for military purposes. Now they’ve developed food-grade canola and that’s really what we’re growing now in the southern plains. It’s the winter version of canola. (Kyle) Let’s talk about what’s different or why we need to be breeding just for this part of the United States and not just use seed from up there? (Mike) Well, we grow winter canola for the same reasons why we grow winter wheat in the southern plains. Winter canola is typically higher yielding. Typically, we have higher oil content in winter canola, that’s not always the case because of the weather conditions that we grow canola in some years. You can see the same advantages between both wheat and canola, why we grow winter canola versus spring canola. (Kyle) There was really a huge propensity to raise canola in Oklahoma a few years ago that, all of a sudden, just kind of stopped. What happened there? (Mike) As you know, we suffered through some pretty difficult weather conditions there, late 2000s. Drought; we had flooding rains; we had some late spring freezes; some issues at both establishment and then also at harvesting when it was too wet to get the crop out of the ground. When times get tough with the alternative crops, a lot of times guys will go back to doing what they know how to do and that’s growing wheat. Also, at that time we had a lot of six, seven, eight-dollar wheat and when things are going good with the crops that you know it’s sometimes hard to diversify. Now that we’ve seen the commodity prices come down on wheat, there’s some pretty significant incentives to grow canola right now. (Kyle) From what I’ve seen though, it’s not something that you just go out and plant and don’t do a lot of planning ahead of time. (Mike) It is a management intensive crop. There’s generally a learning curve with the producers that aren’t educated on the right production practices for the crop. When I talk to new growers, I really recommend to them to get the some information and learn about the intricacies of growing winter canola because it can be challenging. It’s a small-seeded crop. You need moisture at establishment because you need top growth to get through the winter. It doesn’t overwinter like wheat does. Its growing point’s always above the soil surface so you have to have a right amount of growth to get through the winter. Planting date is critical, and then you’re harvesting at the end of season. It’s a little bit different than wheat sometimes. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Mike Stamm. Mike is a canola breeder for Kansas State University. This is Kyle Bauer reporting, back to you Jamie. (Jamie) Thanks, Kyle! Folks, be sure and stay tuned for the history of Yield Grade in cattle production.

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