Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest

Capitol Hill

Now that Congress is focusing on next fiscal year’s budget and appropriation bills, the House and Senate are getting advice from interested parties, including the U.S. Canola Association (USCA). In a letter to the Budget and Appropriation Committees, the USCA and numerous other agricultural groups urged no further cuts to the current farm bill, including the crop insurance program.

The USCA also joined several hundred organizations representing all segments of the U.S. food industry in writing a letter supporting a national, uniform solution to biotech labeling. Despite the Senate’s failure to invoke cloture on the biotech labeling bill on March 16, members of the Senate Agriculture Committee are continuing to work towards a compromise on the issue. But time is running out, as the first state-mandated labeling law will go into effect on July 1 in Vermont.

Leaders from the U.S. agriculture and food sectors are expressing support for opportunities to collaborate with Cuba, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Visiting Cuba with President Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that his department will allow authorized research and information exchange activities with Cuba. U.S. beef, pork, corn, soy and other commodities will now be able to engage in cooperative research and knowledge sharing with Cuba on topics such as agricultural productivity and food security.


Higher-yielding crops and improved hybrid breeding programs could follow the discovery of a canola protein that plays a major role in pollination, according to The Western Producer. Marcus Samuel, associate professor in the University of Calgary’s biological sciences department, said the discovery of the glyoxalase (GLO1) protein could mean improved seed production. Typically, 45 percent of the flowers on a canola plant set seed, but a better understanding of pollination could help that percentage increase.

Canadian canola growers had unexpectedly good yields last year, and hormones might be the reason, an oilseed expert told The Western Producer. The hierarchy of reproduction in a canola plant places priority on the first seeds that are set, so later pods are smaller with fewer seeds. But when the pod development process is disturbed, the hormone balance changes and later pods can get bigger. Last year, the crop was stressed by drought in May and June and then rain fell in July, which helped it recover. Statistics Canada’s initial estimate of the crop was 13.3 million metric tons, but the latest estimate is 17.2 million.

The Minnesota Canola Council is planning its 2016 Canola Production Centre (CPC) research plots in Roseau, Minn. The 2016 CPC will include trials on: 1) nitrogen rate, source and timing; 2) direct harvest, desiccant and swathing; 3) intensive versus traditional canola management; and 4) seeding rate and row spacing. In addition to these trials, the 2016 CPC will include a variety/systems trial and continue the council’s crop rotation trial – the objectives of which are to determine if soybean yield is greater following canola than wheat and if canola yield is greater following soybean than wheat. The council is also planning a seed shattering trial in which seed will be collected and measured on a regular basis until approximately four weeks beyond swathing time. Seed loss data will be collected and summarized for all collection dates and also correlated to the actual harvested yields in the variety trial.


High-protein canola meal could prove to be a valuable ingredient in swine diets, according to a new study at the University of Illinois, reported Agweek. Recently, canola varieties have been developed that contain greater concentrations of protein than conventional varieties. These high-protein canola seeds have thinner hulls than conventional canola seeds, so the meal derived from these seeds has a greater proportion of protein and oil and pigs are able to digest it more easily.

Dairy producers who feed their cows canola meal instead of soybean meal may see higher milk production, Dairy Herd Management reported. Glen Broderick, a former dairy scientist with the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, and his colleagues fed 50 lactating dairy cows a different diet every three weeks. After 15 weeks, the researchers found that canola meal resulted in more milk and milk protein production per day than soybean meal. Specifically, cows fed canola meal produced an average 88.8 pounds of milk per day, compared with 86.6 pounds produced by cows on soybean meal.

March was National Nutrition Month, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promoted “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.” Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND, created a regional seafood dish with canola oil as an example of delicious meeting nutritious.

Other Country News

China may see a canola meal shortage, Reuters reported, now that Beijing plans to toughen import standards for the oilseed from exporters, according to industry analysts. Starting on April 1, China will not allow more than 1 percent of foreign material in canola shipments. Industry analysts have speculated that the higher standard is part of a plan to reduce China’s large canola oil stockpiles by reducing seed imports.

The Canola Council of Canada welcomed new board members for 2016-17 at its annual general meeting held in San Diego on March 3: Aaron Anderson, Richardson International; Charlene Bradley, Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission; Jennifer Marchand, Cargill Ltd.; and Jeff Pleskach, Cargill Ltd. The annual meeting included release of the council’s annual report.

Latest Industry News

The country’s first law requiring mandatory labeling of biotech foods is set to go into effect on July 1 in Vermont, reported the Wall Street Journal. Food manufacturers will face fines of up to $1,000 a day per product giants for violations. General Mills, which opposes mandatory labeling, has announced it will label its biotech products nationwide rather than creating separate labels for food going to Vermont, while Vermont Fresh Pasta said it will swap out canola oil in its products for olive oil, which has no biotech version.

About the USCA

The following producer members were re-elected to the USCA board of directors at its Feb. 24 meeting in Washington, D.C.: Tyson Good, Great Plains; Curtis Hennings, Pacific Northwest; Greg Petrie, Southeast; and Rob Rynning, Northern Plains.

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For in-depth discussions of the important issues affecting the U.S. canola industry, visit the USCA blog. New is an overview of Northern Plains research by Barry Coleman, executive director of the Northern Canola Growers Association.