2008 Oilseed Performance in Central Montana Trials
Wichman, David M.
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This paper evaluates 2008 Oilseed performance in central Montana trials. 2008 Central Montana crop growing conditions were generally less than ideal, particularly for spring crops. Droughty conditions of late 2007 persisted through early May and commenced again in mid-June following above average precipitation in May. Early spring weather consisted of frequent dry windy days with almost daily freezing and thawing of the surface soil through March and early April. The frequent freezing and thawing coupled with low relative humidity broke down the surface soil structure leaving it quite powdery. All five crops, camelina, canola yellow mustard, flax and safflower, had their highest 2008 yield from the April 17th seed date (Table 1). The germination and emergence of seedlings from the April 17th seed date occurred after area temperatures dropped below zero and wind driven snirt (snow & dirt) grated on emerged plant tissue. Earlier emerging seedlings experienced more weather related stress and some mortality. In general, Moccasin yields of cool season oilseeds, camelina, canola and yellow mustard are reduced when seeding is delayed till mid April (Table 2 & Fig. 1). The need to get cool season oilseed crops seeded in early spring may not be as critical in areas with similar growing season temperatures and deeper soils (greater plant available water) or more July precipitation.