Meet the Industry Member: Star Specialty Seed November 20, 2020


By Jim Johnson, owner

Our History

STAR SPECIALTY SEED was established in North Dakota in 2012 to serve the needs of canola farmers in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the Pacific Northwest.  Star specializes in the research and development, and sales and marketing of winter and spring canola seed. 

I have been passionate about canola since my first job in 1990 as a canola plant breeder in Idaho. From my personal experience growing up on a Minnesota farm and wanting to utilize knowledge of the regional specialty ag industry, I saw a real need in the U.S. to take a lead in promoting canola.

Working with canola has allowed me to travel to every U.S. state and Canadian province where there is opportunity to grow canola.  Serving on U.S. and regional associations, lobbying, being involved with crushing plant construction and operation, canola agronomy, product management, marketing, and plant breeding have all become part of what Star Specialty Seed is today.


STAR Performance in 2020

In 2020, I celebrated my 30th year in the canola industry.  Canola has enjoyed much success during that time as an alternative cool-season broadleaf crop in rotation. Varieties have certainly improved, but we believe more can be done to optimize even higher levels of production. Fertility and disease management are areas where we see potential as well as wider rows, singulation and row planters.                                                                     

Spring Canola

Our newest variety offering for spring canola is StarFlex, with the TruFlex™ Roundup Ready® technology.  TruFlex is  Bayer’s second-generation weed control trait offering growers greater flexibility through an extended glyphosate application window up to first flower and an opportunity to apply Roundup Ready® herbicide at higher rates for enhanced weed control.

Check out the performance of StarFlex in 2020 canola variety trials at several locations in the PNW and other canola production regions (bar chart above).  It finished #1 in Velva-ADM and #1 in Carrington NDSU trials, and is a solid performer in PNW trials as well. This TruFlex variety offers a wider application window and higher application rates for canola growers using the Roundup Ready system. 







Winter Canola

STAR 930W offers the best winter hardiness and survival in the industry.  It has proven success in the PNW, and can now be successfully grown further north in Kansas and Nebraska. STAR 930W has delivered excellent yield performance across the winter canola growing regions in university trials the past two years. The Roundup Ready® only herbicide trait package is included in this variety.

STAR 915W is an early to mid-maturing SURT® winter canola variety (Roundup Ready® and tolerant to residual sulfonylurea herbicide). Well-adapted to Oklahoma and Texas canola growing regions, Star 915W is also a strong performer in the Pacific Northwest, where growers need added weed control in their crop rotation. The seed is treated with Helix Xtra Vibrance for added protection against seedling diseases including seed borne black leg, pythium, rhizoctinia and protection against flea beetle, aphids, and other early season insects.

Several seed suppliers in the PNW carry both our spring and winter canola lines, or we can be contacted directly with questions. 

Looking to 2021

As the agriculture landscape continues to change and progress, I hope to improve the potential of canola and other specialty crops in successful farming operations.  Star Specialty Seed is excited to be an industry member of the PNWCA.  After living in Idaho several years ago and traveling across much of the geography included in the PNW, we remain committed to growing the canola industry and making canola a profitable crop for growers.  We hope to utilize our knowledge, experience and passion to collaborate with others in the industry to achieve this goal. 

One of our favorite times of year is when we get to meet canola growers at field days.  We hope that 2021 will start to normalize so we can have more opportunities to tour fields, see new varieties, and meet canola growers.   Look to us at Star Specialty Seed to be “Your Canola Expert”.  Visit us at or contact your closest All STAR Dealer for more information today! 

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