U.S. Canola Association (USCA) President Ryan Pederson attended the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) annual conference and trade show in Ft. Worth, Texas, Jan. 20-22. Conversation mostly focused on the challenges and uncertainty associated with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The biodiesel industry awaits a final decision from the Environmental Protection Agency and White House on the RFS volume requirements for 2014, which apply retroactively, as well as 2015 and future year volume requirements. While the industry successfully pushed back against the initial proposal that would have reduced production levels achieved in 2013 and 2014, it is being crippled by the lack of a final determination on annual volume requirements. In remarks to conference attendees, NBB CEO Joe Jobe declared, "It is our goal for 2015 to get the RFS back on track" and despite criticisms against the RFS and biofuels industry, the truth is on the side of biodiesel. The RFS is good policy, Jobe said, stressing that "2015 has to be the year we get back to the future of this program and out of the uncertainty of the past."
Challenging weather conditions in northwest Oklahoma created a rough start to the winter canola season, but growers are now optimistic about 2015 yields, according to Enid News. Despite intense cold in early November, viable plants were still visible in late December and could lead to a solid crop if proper weather and moisture conditions continue. Herbicide applications to date have proven effective at reducing competition from grassy weeds.
Verticillium longisporum, a soil-borne pest, was found in the Canadian province of Manitoba, according to Business Week and Pembina Valley Online. The disease can cause advanced aging and early plant death by infecting plant roots. The biggest concern is crop loss, but Manitoba’s agriculture agency indicated there was a low risk of it spreading due to the current frozen ground.
The Western Producer reported on research concluding that the risks of straight cutting canola and the mechanical loss from swathing canola are about equal, which makes straight cutting more economical. With straight cutting, there is no swathing cost of $15 per acre and it performs as well or better than the windrow strategy.
Research in Australia showed that canola meal extracts may have the potential to treat cancer and obesity, reported The Rural. Some of the extracts inhibit an enzyme that causes the division of cancer cells, while others almost completely shut down the genes that are involved in the production of new fat cells. "The dramatic increase in canola production in Australia has provided an opportunity to develop new high-value products from canola meal, which is normally a low value by-product of canola crushing,” said the lead researcher.
CanolaInfo Program Manager Shaunda Durance-Tod responded to misconceptions about canola oil in The Western Producer. Internet rumors spread false information about the origins and content of canola oil and consumers “are not sure what to believe,” she explained. Durance-Tod clarified that canola oil is not the same as rapeseed oil and does not create mustard gas. Instead, canola oil is high in monounsaturated fat and can help lower LDL cholesterol and help control blood glucose.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can be hard when you are on a budget. To help,Prevention magazine created a list of the 10 most affordable, healthy items to buy at the grocery store. Canola oil is recommended because it provides great value for health with the least saturated fat and most plant-based omega-3 fat among all common cooking oils.
Oil Around the World
The Supreme Court of India dismissed an appeal by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), according to The Hindu Business Line, permitting importers of canola oil to refer to it by its internationally traded name. Earlier, FSSAI had issued a requirement that canola oil be labelled as “rapeseed oil – low erucic acid.” Dalmia Continental, one of the largest importers of canola oil, challenged the requirement.
In the next 10 years, the Canola Council of Canada wants to reduce its reliance on its biggest export customers – China, United States, Japan and Mexico – from 93 to 80 percent of all exports, reported The Western Producer. Canada exports 90 percent of its canola seed, oil and meal. Bruce Jowett, the council’s vice president of market development, said it was not wise to have most of the export business tied up with four customers. The canola industry is looking to expand exports in India and South Korea.
The Canadian government is investing up to $9.5 million to support the marketing and development of canola in global markets, according to Southwest Booster. The financial support will be combined with industry contributions, creating a total investment of $19 million over five years. “The canola industry is an important economic engine in Canada and we need ongoing investment to keep this momentum up and reach our target of 26 million metric tonnes of sustained market demand and production by 2025,” said Patti Miller, president of the Canola Council of Canada.
Latest Industry News
Researchers at Rutgers University-Camden are looking into a new way to manage clubroot, according to a university press release. They are using common grass, a “non-host” to clubroot, to pinpoint genes resistant to the disease. “We inoculated the roots of the grass and just let it grow, then compared it to samples that were not infected,” explained Simeon Kotchoni, assistant professor of biology at Rutgers. “The inoculated grass was not affected by the clubroot … We’ll be able to understand how the grass was able to overcome the pathogen, and bring that gene over to the canola so that it can fend off the clubroot.”
Canola College 2015, titled “Taking Canola Production to the Next Level,” will be Feb. 19 at Chisholm Trail EXPO Center in Enid, Okla., according to High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal. Canola production experts will share ideas and experiences with more than 300 new and veteran canola producers and industry partners. Register at canola.okstate.edu.
The 14th International Rapeseed Congress will be July 5-9, 2015, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The event will cover advances in discovery sciences, such as genomics and molecular biology; plant breeding strategies; crop protection, including diseases, insects and weeds; climatic stress, such as drought and heat; seed quality and utilization; nutritional value of oil and meal; agronomy; crop management; and economic and policy issues, including regulatory systems and international trade. Speakers will come from around the world, including Canada, France, Germany, U.K., China and India, including Dr. Keith Downey, one of the “fathers” of canola. If you would like to submit an abstract, the deadline has been extended until Feb. 16.
More than 500 attendees took part in the 2015 PNW Oilseed & Direct Seed Conference in Kennewick, Wash., in late January. The conference featured 85 speakers, 44 research posters and a trade show with 50 vendors. Central Washington University geologist Nick Zentner discussed how Ice Age floods shaped agricultural production regions of the Pacific Northwest, and Dr. Michael Neff, Washington State University molecular geneticist, covered the pros and cons of plant biotechnology. Presentations will be posted at www.css.wsu.edu/biofuels.
About the USCA
The USCA Annual Membership and Board of Directors meeting will be Monday-Wednesday, Feb. 9-11 in Washington, D.C. Industry members will meet at the Phoenix Park Hotel to discuss the current state of U.S. canola and future policy efforts. Register on the USCA website. The annual “Canola on Capitol Hill” event, featuring “I Love Canola” for Valentine’s Day, will be Tuesday, Feb. 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 1300 Longworth House Office Building.