Canola Quick Bytes
A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest
On March 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced plans for an additional round of payments under its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). It will reopen CFAP2 and other payments to row crop producers. Producers of crops in the flat-rate category like canola and price-trigger category with acreage reports must use annual acreage and yield information provided by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Producers can complete or modify their applications via their local FSA office or Farmers.gov once sign-up begins on April 5. Additional payments will be equal to eligible crop acres multiplied by a rate of $20 per acre. The FSA will automatically issue payments to eligible producers based on the acres included on their CFAP2 applications. Producers who have already applied for CFAP2 do not need to submit a new application to receive this payment.
In addition to CFAP payments for crops, the USDA will dedicate at least $6 billion of the funding enacted by Congress in December to support dairy farmers, euthanized livestock and poultry, biofuels, personal protective equipment for processors and others impacted by COVID-19.
President Joe Biden outlined a $2 trillion infrastructure proposal this week, including $621 billion for maintenance and construction of roads and bridges, $17 billion for inland waterways and ports, $100 billion for broadband and $40 billion for modernizing government and university research facilities, such as those at the USDA and land grant universities. The package also includes $111 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, $100 billion for energy infrastructure and modernization of the electrical grid, $80 billion for passenger and freight rail, $100 billion for workforce development, $20 billion for revitalization in depressed regions, and $18 billion for Veterans Affairs hospitals. Biden proposed offsetting the cost of the infrastructure package by increasing the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28 percent and establishing a global minimum tax for multinational corporations.
Kelliann Blazek has been appointed as an advisor to President Joe Biden on agriculture and rural policy. She recently served as the first director of Wisconsin’s Office of Rural Prosperity under Governor Tony Evers.
In March, the U.S. Canola Association (USCA) joined agricultural allies on several letters to Congress. Comments outlined transportation priorities in the next Highway Bill reauthorization, urged for an increased allocation for the agriculture subcommittee, supported the benefits of biotechnology in combatting climate change and supported a Pesticide Policy Coalition in calling for the Environmental Protection Agency’s science-based review of the herbicide glyphosate.
U.S. canola acreage in 2021 is expected to increase nationally by 16 percent to a record 2.115 million acres, according to the March 31 Prospective Plantings Report by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. North Dakota, the top-producing state in the nation, projects an increase of 18 percent to 1.78 million acres planted. Acreage is also projected to increase in Montana by 3 percent to 160,000; Washington by 2 percent to 95,000; Minnesota by 16 percent to 58,000; Oklahoma by 17 percent to 14,000; and Kansas by 60 percent to 8,000.
In the USCA Blog, Mike Stamm of Kansas State University (KSU) discusses “summery” winter canola development in the Great Plains. Researchers studied high-yielding and regionally adapted cultivars as well as how to improve canola cropping systems and implement new technologies and practices. KSU developed the winter hardy variety ‘KS4719,’ which has been licensed to WinField United as ‘CP1066WC.’ It has “improved lodging tolerance and slightly better shatter tolerance than previous KSU releases,” says Stamm. Additionally, Oklahoma State University researched the effect of management practices on canola quality and yield when stands are thinned by winter kill. It showed that even when canola isn’t in ideal conditions, it can compensate for losses if inputs are maintained. These studies were funded by grants from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Canola has proven to be a great rotational crop in the Pacific Northwest, notes Kurtis Schroeder, Ph.D., of the University of Idaho in another USCA Blog post. Benefits include reduced crop diseases, better weed control, and with winter canola, increased water infiltration. Because of this, several projects have been funded by NIFA in the region. The university licensed its winter cultivar ‘Chinook’ to WinField United. Now sold as ‘CROPLAN® CP1022WC G2FLEX™,’ this non-GMO variety allows more flexibility in crop rotations. Studies on row spacing and blackleg showed that seeding rows 21 inches apart performed better than traditional widths of 7 inches and two fungicide applications (fall and spring) were best to manage the disease with incidence exceeding 50 percent.
North Dakota State University (NDSU) is working on high oil and high-yielding spring canola varieties adapted to the region as well as and conducting research on nitrogen applications and clubroot management, notes Luis Del Rio Mendoza, Ph.D., in another USCA Blog post. In addition, NDSU has identified a potential new pest to canola in the northern part of state, especially Cavalier County. It’s an insect called canola flower midge that is known in Canada. It’s most damaging as larvae which “injures the developing flower and causes swelling that prevents the flower from opening,” notes Janet Knodel, NDSU Extension entomologist and professor. This prevents the crops from producing pods and seeds. Future trapping and field scouting will help researchers detect the pest early.
RealAgriculture.com offers tips for seeding canola in dry conditions. Seeding depth should be around three quarters of an inch to one inch, notes a BASF agronomist. Seeding deeper will take longer for seed to germinate, prolonging its exposure to diseases. Other considerations in a dry year are herbicide carryover and seed-row placed fertilizer.
To make your meals healthier this Easter, cook with canola oil. Need a fun culinary idea? Try this recipe for hot-crossed buns.
Other Country News
Richardson International Limited in Canada is expanding its canola crush plant in Yorktown. It will modernize the facility, including a high-speed shipping system and improved operational efficiencies. The improvements are expected to double processing capabilities. Construction will begin immediately with the aim to complete it by 2024.
In Calgary, Alberta, a campaign has begun to raise money for a $2.4 billion canola-based renewable diesel plant. The facility would be capable of producing 1 billion liters of biofuel per year, which amounts to about 20,000 barrels a day. The build-out is expected to take 3.5 years.
Although canola is independent from other crops when it comes to trade value, it still is impacted by soybean conditions and prices. Weather changes in Brazil and Argentina are threatening soybean crops in both countries. As a result, canola and soybean prices are expected to increase.
The UK government is expected to lift a ban on the cultivation and sale of gene-edited crops and animals, according to the Daily Mail. The United Kingdom prohibited gene editing in 2018 when the European Court of Justice ruled it was like other forms of genetic modification and limited it to research. “Gene editing has the ability to harness the genetic resources that mother nature has provided, such as breeding crops that perform better, benefiting farmers and reducing impacts on the environment,” said a government spokesperson. “Now that we have left the EU, we have the opportunity to make coherent policy decisions on gene editing based on current science and evidence.”
Latest Industry News
New demand for renewable diesel is putting pressure on the supply of feedstocks like vegetable oils, notes Reuters. This could impact agriculture by swelling demand for commodities like canola and soybeans and drive up food prices. Used cooking oil is the ideal solution. Unlike biodiesel, renewable diesel can power cars without being blended and thus less pollution for refiners. Production capacity is expected to nearly quintuple to about 2.65 billion gallons over the next three years.
Tom Borgen, past president of the Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA), was inducted into the North Dakota Agriculture Hall of Fame. He was instrumental in introducing canola to growers in the state and was the first U.S. producer to deliver his canola to a Canadian crush plant.
The NCGA Board of Directors elected its slate of officers for 2021. Pat Murphy of Minot was re-elected president, Dan Marquardt of Bottineau was re-elected vice president and Tim Mickelson of Rolla was re-elected secretary/treasurer.
North Dakota State University, along with the NCGA, held a virtual “Getting it Right in Canola” production meeting virtually on March 16. Ten different speakers presented information on all aspects of canola production. Over 125 attendees heard details on plant establishment, fertility, weed, disease and insect control, and developments in the fuel industry that are potential game-changers for canola. A link to a recording of the meeting and related resources is available at northerncanola.com.
About the USCA
The USCA elected new board officers: Andrew Moore as president, Bryan Aalund as first vice president, Tim Mickelson as second vice president, Mark Torno as secretary and Matt Rekeweg as treasurer. New grower directors are Dale Flikkema of Montana and Jeff Porter of Kentucky.
Listen to Canola Quick Bytes in the USCA’s new monthly podcast. It’s perfect while driving farm equipment or doing other routine activities. Check it out on the USCA’s YouTube channel. Each podcast is uploaded the first of the month when this e-newsletter is published.
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