On July 25, USCA President Rob Rynning testified before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on U.S. canola interests in the next farm bill. He requested an incentive to include canola and/or sunflowers in cropping rotations to provide habitat for honey bees. “Maintaining the acreage of cropland planted annually to these two crops is essential to the continued viability of the honey bee industry; and increasing the acreage by just 2-3 million acres across the U.S. would have an immediate positive impact on honey bee health,” he said. Following the hearing, Rynning met to discuss the honey bee habitat proposal with staff from the offices of Senators Heitkamp, Hoeven, Klobuchar and Thune.
On July 21, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a qualified health claim for soybean oil and its ability to reduce the risk of heart disease when used in place of saturated fat – the same claim canola oil received in October 2006 – in response to a petition filed by Bunge North America in February 2016. According to Dr. Mark Stavro, Bunge’s senior director of marketing, soybean oil has lost share as users turned away from trans fats, transitioning to canola and palm oils. Plus canola oil has benefited from a “health halo” due to its health claim. “In addition, 55 percent of U.S. consumers are trying to avoid or reduce saturated fat in their diet, and almost 40 percent are trying to incorporate healthier fats,” Bunge said.
University of Manitoba researchers published two studies on how canola does when stored in grain or silo bags—typically viewed as temporary storage solutions when there isn’t room in permanent bins or when the goal is to make fieldwork more efficient with in-field storage. Their results are mostly linked to the quality and condition of the canola when it is first placed into the bags. For example, if the canola is 9 percent moisture or less, it can be stored for 10 months; but at 10 percent moisture, the storage period drops to about seven months. In addition to paying attention to moisture, monitoring the weather and potential damage from birds, deer and rodents is key to keeping canola at its highest quality when stored in grain bags.
To keep your brain in shape, eat like the Vikings, according to a study out of the Karolinska Institute and news from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. According to the Swedish study of more than 2,000 people, sticking to a traditional Nordic diet—which includes whole grain cereals and oily fish as staple foods plus canola oil—was linked to a lesser decline in memory and thinking skills. It opts for canola oil over olive oil as a source of healthy monounsaturated fat.
There are a lot of cooking oils on the market and trying to select the appropriate one may seem overwhelming. Which is healthy? Which handles high heat? Which is easy on the wallet? The Nation set out to answer these questions and more about various culinary oils, including canola oil, which it called “a stellar cooking oil because it has a neutral flavor, light texture and fairly high heat tolerance.” Canola oil also has an omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio of about 2-to-1, which is higher (and therefore, healthier) than many other vegetable oils.
For the first time, farmers in Canada planted more canola than wheat this year-a record 22.8 million acres, which is up 12 percent from last year. Meanwhile, wheat seeding dropped 3.7 percent to 22.4 million acres. “The weather challenges in Saskatchewan and Alberta probably caused a lot of growers to switch from wheat to other crops,” David Reimann, a market analyst at Cargill Ltd., told Ag Web. “Canola is easier to seed in wet conditions.”
Things are looking up for honeybees in Canada, where nearly 800,000 colonies are on active duty this year. That’s 10 percent higher than last year, which was also a record year for the country, The Toronto Star reported. And it’s in part thanks to initiatives like the Bees Matter program and work to fight against Varroa mites (bloodsucking parasites that have been preying on the honeybee population since the 1980s). It’s also due to farmers employing pollinator-friendly production practices, particularly in the western prairies, which is home to 500,000 beehives and 8 million hectares of canola, a top source of pollen and nectar.
The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum’s newest exhibition, “Canola! Seeds of Innovation,” is now open. It shows the scientific, agricultural, economic and social impact of canola through an immersive and interactive experience. Made possible with the support of partners like the Canola Council of Canada and Canadian Canola Growers Association, the exhibition includes digital games, audio-visual presentations and a live exhibit showing the role of bees in canola pollination.
Unresolved issues around the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union are likely to delay full benefits of the deal. Scheduled for implementation on Sept. 21, the free trade agreement is estimated to increase Canadian agri-food exports to Europe by about $1.5 billion. But it may get off to a rocky start, according to Brian Innes, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance. “There are potential barriers around crop inputs like crop protection products, as well as biotechnology traits that we include in our canola and our corn and our soybeans that are potential barriers,” he said.
Photos in this section courtesy of Karen Sowers, extension and outreach specialist for oilseeds, Washington State University.
The J.M. Smucker Company announced it will acquire the Wesson® oil brand from ConAgra Brands Inc. in an all-cash deal valued at approximately $285 million. “The addition of Wesson creates a strong complement to our Crisco® brand,” CEO Mark Smucker said. It will also make Smucker’s the largest retailer of canola oil in the U.S.
Through its 2017 “More for Everyone” program, Bayer will donate $50,000 this year to non-profit organizations doing work like rebuilding a fire-damaged school, providing backpacks of food for students’ weekend meals, and purchasing a medical handicap lift for a therapeutic horse riding program. Each year since 2010, farmers planting Bayer InVigor® canola hybrids have been able to nominate non-profits in their communities to receive a donation as part of More for Everyone, which has distributed nearly $300,000 over the past seven years.
Read the latest USCA blog, “Canola Research in North Dakota Grow Strong,” by Barry Coleman, executive director of the Northern Canola Growers Association. He discusses his organization’s efforts to expand canola research in the Northern Plains, including funding studies that show canola is a viable and sustainable rotational crop. For more on that, plus NCGA-funded projects, check out Coleman’s blog.
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