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Oilseeds News & Updates

2020 Field Day Abstracts

Every year WOCS project researchers design and carry out research activities focused on  improving oilseed production in Washington state. Every year these projects are summarized in the Field Day Abstracts. This years abstracts include research on canola fertility, camelina breeding, and much more. Check out Part 1. Oilseeds and Other Alternative Crops for abstracts about our research!

Soil Science Alumnus Isaac Madsen Chosen to Lead WSU Oilseed Research

Developing improved crops and practices for the Inland Northwest’s growing oilseed industry, alumnus and soil scientist Isaac Madsen is Washington State University’s new extension agronomist for the Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems program.

Hired Sept. 1, Madsen is based in Pullman, and leads WSU’s field-based testing program for oilseed crops, including canola, camelina, safflower, and sunflower. He will work alongside WSU scientists, Extension experts and Northwest growers to test and improve oilseed varieties and production methods that help diversify dryland farming in eastern Washington.

Canola & Oilseed Production Information at Your Fingertips!

Did you know there are presentations from growers, researchers, and ag industry reps from around the PNW, U.S., and world right here on the WOCS website? Check out the Conference Presentations tab on the menu and discover the wealth of information in video, powerpoint, and poster formats from WOCS workshops, conferences, and annual research reviews since 2010.

WOCS-funded Canola and Wheat Rhizosphere Study Results Published

An ongoing collaborative research project between USDA-ARS and WSU Crop & Soil Sciences faculty is producing some interesting results, some of which were recently published in the journal Applied Soil Ecology. Two of the five researchers, Dr. Tim Paulitz and Dr. Bill Schillinger, are part of the WSU-WOCS team who authored Common and unique rhizosphere microbial communities of wheat and canola in a semiarid Mediterranean environment. The project will continue to receive partial funding from WOCS as the researchers generate more data from samples collected at the long-term cropping systems site at the Ron Jirava farm near Ritzville.

Winter Canola Variety and Seed Supplier Information Available

Winter canola harvest is upon is in the PNW, and planting is around the corner for many.  If you are still making variety selection decisions check out the updated winter canola and rapeseed supply list on our Production Information page and contact the vendor of your choice.  Check back often for updates! If you have questions about variety selection feel free to email Isaac Madsen

Spring Canola Variety Trials Underway

We have spring canola variety trials up and growing at three locations this year:  Cook Farm in Pullman, Brunner farm north of Almira, and Wilke Farm in Davenport. The Cook Farm trial features four Roundup Ready varieties; Brunner’s has five entries including a conventional hybrid, Clearfield, and Liberty Link; and the Wilke Farm trial has a total of 8 different entries that represent conventional and all herbicide tolerant traits.

Membership available for PNW Canola Association

Producers, industry, and agencies who have an interest in canola and the betterment of the canola industry are all eligible for membership in the Pacific Northwest Canola Association.  For more information email the Association.

The ‘4Rs’ of Nitrogen Management of Canola in a Wheat Rotation

Check out this great paper “4R nitrogen management when integrating canola into semi-arid wheat” about nitrogen management of canola in a wheat/cereal rotation, published recently in Crops & Soils Magazine. WSU-WOCS, OSU and UI faculty and grad students are the authors, and the information is based specifically on PNW canola research.

Seeding rate and plant density calculators

The Canola Council of Canada has developed calculators to help growers set seeding rates and plant stands that match seed size, risk factors and estimated seed survival.  Check out the calculators on the Canola Council of Canada site.

Enterprise budget for intermediate and low rainfall region

The Extension publication “Enterprise Budgets: Wheat & Canola Rotations in Eastern Washington Intermediate Rainfall (12-16″) Zone (Oilseed Series)” is available. This budget and the accompanying low rainfall version of the bulletin are powerful tools to calculate and compare the short and long-term economics of including canola in a cereal rotation. For the accompanying Excel spreadsheet for either rainfall zone, please email Isaac Madsen.

The Washington State University Oilseed Cropping Systems Research and Extension Program, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, is committed to supporting the grower and industry-based movement to diversify cropping system agronomics and markets through increased adoption and production of oilseed crops.



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Spotlight on 2020 Oilseed Field Day Abstracts

Canola Variety Effects on Soil Health Mediated by Nutrients and the Microbiome (pdf)

Maren L. Friesen1,2, Tarah Sullivan2, Timothy Paulitz1,3, Haiying Tao2, Brett Younginger1, and Richard Allen White III1
1Dept. of Plant Pathology, WSU; 2Dept. of Crop and Soil Sciences, WSU; 3Wheat Health, Genetics, and Quality Research Unit,
The rhizosphere is a highly active region for both biological and chemical processes and is analogous to the human gut, where
microbial communities play critical roles in transforming nutrients for the health of the host. Plants interact with a host of both soilborne
diseases and soil-borne beneficial micro-organisms and extensive work across plant systems has documented that plant
genotype interacts with the environment to determine these interactions. Work by our team has found that crop genotype is
related to differences in siderophore activity in wheat rhizosphere and that crop genotype is also related to differences in the ability
for beneficial microbes to protect against soil-borne antagonists in the Medicago rhizosphere. In canola, one of the barriers to
adoption is the variability in its effects on subsequent rotational crops–in some cases canola enhances the yield of following crops
but in other cases it decreases yield. Previous work by our team has documented that wheat and canola share core rhizosphere
microbiome members and that these communities shift through time and under varying canola-wheat rotations. However, it is not
currently known how these effects vary with canola variety or if these effects are consistent across our region. Understanding the
biological and soil nutrient basis of these effects in relation to canola variety across our region will be important for both immediate
recommendations for farmers seeking to incorporate canola into rotations as well as longer term efforts to improve soil health
through the use of oilseed crops.
We plan to sample the microbiome of ongoing variety trials–both the loosely bound rhizosphere, which has been more closely
linked to microbiome function, as well as the tightly bound rhizosphere, which has been found to vary more dramatically across
plant varieties due to genetic differences. We will extract DNA and use 16S and ITS to inform us what bacteria and fungi are present,
and plan to additionally use high-throughput qPCR to assess the abundance of key nutrient cycling genes. We will also conduct
analysis of soil nutrients in the bulk soil to better understand connections between canola varieties, the microbiome, and soil

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Samantha Crow
Administrative Assistant