Canola growth debated

While canola is highly valued for its bio-fuel benefits, some argue that it harms other crops.

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Areas like the Willamette Valley could benefit from the growth of canola, valued for its use in bio-fuels and food. But the detrimental effects canola has on other crops are creating an issue.

Canola grows well on fields now used for grass seed, providing an option to valley growers hard hit by a glutted market and now largely prohibited from using field burning to kill weeds. Canola is a broadleaf plant that can break disease cycles like fire does, it doesn’t require irrigation, and it can be planted and harvested with the same equipment used for grass seed.

Energy tax credits also make canola an attractive alternative to growers, and a seed-crushing facility capable of producing 3 million to 4 million gallons of oil a year opened in Rickreall in 2008.

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