Capitol Hill

Agronomy

Nutrition

Other Country News

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A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest


Capitol Hill

Work on the 2018 Farm Bill picked up steam in August as staff from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees met several times to begin reconciling differences between their respective bills. Also, Senate Agriculture Chairman Roberts (R-KS), Ranking Member Stabenow (D-MI), House Agriculture Chairman Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Peterson (D-MN) met for several hours last week, with Roberts noting afterwards that “real progress was made,” and expressed the intent to have a draft conference report ready to review during the first formal meeting of the conferees, scheduled for Sept. 5. The current farm bill – the Agricultural Act of 2014 – expires on Sept. 30.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced details of assistance to help farmers mitigate agricultural price declines because of the ongoing trade war between China and the United States. Initial payments totaling $4.7 billion in direct aid through a Market Facilitation Program will be paid to producers of products and crops that had retaliatory tariffs placed on them, including cotton, corn, dairy, pork, soybeans, sorghum and wheat. U.S. canola has not been targeted by retaliatory tariffs, but prices for canola have fallen in tandem with soybean prices. Dr. Frayne Olson of North Dakota State University determined an 88 percent correlation between soybean and canola prices over the last 10 years (see chart below). Requests by the U.S. Canola Association (USCA) and the Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA) that canola be included in the Market Facilitation Program were not granted.
 
The NCGA requested of the North Dakota delegation that canola be included as an eligible commodity under the proposed $12 billion aid package announced by the USDA. While canola has not had a tariff imposed upon it, canola growers are still suffering the same drop in revenue and inclusion of canola would be equitable for growers. In addition, the NCGA provided input to USDA Undersecretary Steve Censky and Representative Kevin Cramer at a town hall meeting on Aug. 23 in Fargo, N.D. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its proposal for 2019 RFS Volumes and Biomass-Based Diesel volumes for 2020. The USCA expressed appreciation that the EPA calls for growth to 2.43 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel for 2020 and 4.88 billion gallons of total advanced biofuels for 2019, while also urging the agency to further increase these volumes to reflect the available capacity and ample feedstock. The existing RFS volumes for biomass-based diesel for 2019 are 2.1 billion gallons and advanced biofuels for 2018 are set at 4.29, so the EPA proposed rule represents modest increases in both categories. 

A bipartisan group of 39 senators also signed a letter to the EPA in support of higher advanced biofuel and biomass-based diesel volumes for 2019 and 2020. Senator Murray (D-WA) was one of the leaders on the letter and senators from canola-producing states included Heitkamp (D-ND), Hoeven (R-ND), Cantwell (D-WA), Roberts (R-KS), Moran (R-KS), Klobuchar (D-MN), Smith (D-MN), Wyden (D-OR) and Merkley (D-OR). 

The NCGA was determined to be eligible for potential co-funding of research via the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA’s) commodity board provision. Under the NCGA, the USCA submitted a nutrition research topic for NIFA’s consideration. 

Agronomy

The court of public opinion came out against Monsanto this month with a ruling in favor of a plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, who alleged that using RoundUp® caused his lymphatic cancer. Monsanto has said that it plans to appeal the verdict. Real Agriculture analyzed the verdict and depending on how the appeal turns out, the case could set a precedent for other lawsuits involving glyphosate. “This is just a jury verdict,” noted Roger McEowen, professor of agricultural law and taxation at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. “We’re just at the very first stage of this, and many times jury verdicts, at least the dollar amount, do not hold up on appeal. This is very early in the process.”

Clubroot in canola fields throughout North Dakota this year is reaching “epidemic” levels, warned Venktat Chapara, plant pathologist at North Dakota State University Langdon Research Extension Center, in AgWeek. Clubroot has been found in 22 fields in Cavalier County, where canola is abundant. Chapara expects more cases by the end of the season. He is calling for an "integrated approach for sustainable management of clubroot. That includes practicing sanitation with equipment and boots, longer crop rotations of at least two or three years and using resistant varieties.”

Are you attempting straight-cutting for the first time this year? GrainNews hopes to ease your mind with a Q&A with agronomist Norm Flore at Nutrien Ag Solutions in Alberta, Canada that will give you pointers. Above all, “many growers have successfully adopted this practice and it’s a viable alternative to swathing and combining,” he said.
 

Nutrition

Sheah Rarback, the Miami Herald’s nutrition blogger (and a nutritionist with the University of Miami’s School of Medicine), always recommends canola oil to her clients. That’s because “it is lowest in saturated fat,” she said. “Cutting down on saturated fat is one part of a cholesterol lowering diet.” Rarback was one of the participants in CanolaInfo’s Canola Camp, where food and nutrition experts are given a chance to tour canola fields, taste canola oils and learn more about canola. Read Rarback’s lessons from Canola Camp here

Is the tide finally turning against coconut oil? In a now viral video on YouTube, Karin Michels, adjunct professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s School of Public Health, railed against this oil.  She cited coconut oil’s high saturated fat content and called it “pure poison” several times, according to USA Today. Other nutritionists have come to her defense, with one expert telling The New York Times “there’s virtually no data to support the hype.”

Other Country News

The Canadian government is in the midst of banning neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides used on canola and other crops, and the Canola Council of Canada is worried. Brian Innes, the Council’s vice president of public affairs, told CTV that “these products are very important for our growers, and without viable alternatives, the ban will significantly impact the canola sector.” The Canola Council of Canada will “actively contribute to the review process.” The Grain Growers of Canada also said that the government is moving forward too quickly with the ban.

It’s been a particularly hot summer in Canada this year and it’s hurting canola crops. Some of Canada’s prairies have seen temperatures as high 105° F. “Temperatures like that and canola just don’t go together,” said Todd Lewis, farmer and president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, to Bloomberg. Canola production is expected to dip 4.5 percent from initial estimates in July as a result.

Not everything is doom and gloom in Canada this season, however. The country is still benefiting from the trade dispute between the United States and China with increased canola exports. Neil Townsend, senior market analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions, told Western Producer that “we’re projecting them to go up by 600,000 to 700,000 tonnes above their biggest previous program.” Even with the dry, hot conditions this summer, experts are predicting an average yield of around 40 bushels per acre.

Canada isn’t the only country dealing with a hotter-than-average summer. Australia’s canola crop is also expected to take a hit. Australia’s Weekly Times Now reported that the forecast production of canola has dropped from 3.5 million tonnes for 2017-18 to 2.7 million. “Canola in particular is in a very poor state and without meaningful rain in August we will have to reduce our crop numbers further in many areas,” said Lachstock Consulting’s MarketWire. 

Latest Industry News

Say goodbye to buying canola seeds based on weight. InVigor® canola, which was recently bought by BASF from Bayer CropScience, plans to roll out packaging that charges by the number of canola seeds by 2020. It’s a practice that’s already common for corn and soybean producers. “Each bag will contain at least 4.25 million seeds, or the equivalent needed for 10 acres based on a recommended plant stand of 5 to 7 plants per square foot and 60 percent survivability,” Real Agriculture reported.

Blackleg in canola could be one step closer to being eradicated. Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDuPont, and Agriculture Victoria Services Pty Ltd. announced in August that they are partnering to create a new canola variety with blackleg resistance, using Optimum Haploid Value technology. “We’ve been able to make great strides in our efforts to support canola growers in Australia and other canola-growing regions,” stated German Spangenberg, deputy secretary of agriculture research at Agriculture Victoria, in Seed World.

The Pacific Northwest continues to become more active in canola production. The winter canola variety trial harvest is complete for Washington State and the University of Idaho, and “while the yields were nothing like last year, the canola still did pretty well,” according to Karen Sowers at Washington State University. The team harvested its large-scale spring canola variety trials at Ralston and Walla Walla, with Reardan close behind. “Yields of all but one variety were almost 1,000 lbs higher this year,” Sowers noted. “Differences this year were more spring moisture, cooler spring temperatures and using a planter instead of a drill.” Winter canola seed is still available from distributors, although some varieties are in limited supply. Check out this supply list.

The NCGA will hold its 12th Annual Canola Research Conference in Fargo, N.D., on Nov. 15, featuring results from projects funded through the National Canola Research Program. The NCGA’s 21st Annual Canola Expo will be in Langdon, N.D., on Dec. 4, including speakers on oilseed markets and canola clubroot research, a trade show and annual membership meeting.  

About the USCA

The 5th National Canola Research Conference (NCRC), sponsored by the USCA and canola industry, will be Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 5-6, 2018 in Baltimore, Md. It will be held in conjunction with the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and Crop Science Society of America annual meetings. The NCRC will begin with two symposia, oral and poster presentations. "The NCRC elevates the status of canola as a prominent cash crop and promotes its agronomic benefits to crop rotation,” said Mike Stamm, NCRC organizer and ASA member. More info is in his post in the USCA blog.

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