The National Institute of Food and Agriculture issued its FY 2011 Request for Applications for canola research through the Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grants Program. Approximately $800,000 is available to support this program and the deadline is May 31, 2011. The agency said the program’s goal is to significantly increase crop production and/or acreage.
In a final continuing resolution passed in April by Congress for the FY 2011 federal budget, the National Canola Research Programwas reduced by only 0.2 percent from the previous year’s funding level. “All things considered, [this is] a very positive outcome for canola research,” said Dale Thorenson of the U.S. Canola Association.
A long drought from the Louisiana Gulf to the Texas panhandle has made canola growth a challenge, reported the Ag Journal online. Combined with skyrocketing wheat prices, the drought has made it hard for canola producers to reach peak potential. Jeff Scott, president of the Great Plains Canola Association, said acreage in the region could’ve been 250,000 acres instead of only 135,000. Even so, the advantages of canola in a wheat rotation as well as rising demand for healthy vegetable oils still makes canola production a worthy endeavor.
A new study out of South Dakota State University found that canola oil reduced the size and incidence of colon tumors in lab animals, reported Science Daily. This was the first study to explore a preventative link between canola oil and colon cancer, a disease that claimed over 51,000 U.S. deaths in 2010. In rats given canola oil, the average number of tumors per rat lessened by 58 percent and the size of the tumors decreased by 90 percent compared to rats fed a control diet.
Mazola brand canola oil got a "label-lift" and now carries the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized qualified health claim about the oil’s ability to help reduce the risk of heart disease when used in place of saturated fat. Mazola’s new front label features a red heart and "heart-healthy" text along with yellow canola flowers. Mazola follows Wesson brand canola oil in using the claim on its label.
Oil for the Environment
The University of Iowa announced its forestry team will begin using canola oil to power its chainsaws because the oil is biodegradable and less hazardous. The crew typically uses about 55 gallons of petroleum a year and expects to replace it all with canola oil, which is about equal in price.
The Gerald R. Ford International Airport will soon be making some of its own fuel under a one-year study in conjunction with Michigan State University. Extension researchers will grow canola for conversion into biodiesel for use in airport maintenance vehicles. Airport officials estimate the project could produce about 150 gallons of biodiesel with about 30 percent biofuel and 70 percent diesel.
Latest Industry News
Bayer CropScience and DuPont announced in April that they entered into a global licensing agreement for a canola herbicide tolerance trait. Bayer licensed its proprietary herbicide tolerance technology, LibertyLin™, to DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred for use in canola hybrids and Pioneer will give Bayer access to certain proprietary genetics. The companies are hoping that resulting hybrids will have the potential to provide excellent yield and agronomic qualities like drought, heat and disease tolerance.
Monsanto announced in April that two new DeKalb brand canola hybrids have been registered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and will be available this fall. The first hybrid, 73-15 RR, combines high yield with early maturity – “an excellent fit for growers in the short-season zone,” the company said. The second hybrid, 73-75 RR, is simply high-yielding.
About Winter Canola
Starting in early May, Kansas State University will conduct seven field tours across the state to educate growers about the advantages of winter canola. All schedules and locations are posted at www.greatplainscanola.org.