Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest

Capitol Hill

The Environmental Protection Agency finalized volume requirements for the 2019 renewable fuel standard: 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel, which is level with 2018 volume requirements and less than the 2.5 billion gallons the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and U.S. Canola Association (USCA) were seeking. The NBB expressed disappointment with the flatline RFS volumes and missed opportunity to promote growth in biodiesel production. The USCA will continue to support the biodiesel industry’s efforts under the Trump administration, including pushing to have the biodiesel tax credit reinstated and included in a year-end tax extenders package, separate from the comprehensive tax reform.


In a major scientific breakthrough, scientists in Australia found a gene in Ethiopian mustard plants that can prevent pod shattering in canola plants. This is big news for growers with hot, dry conditions since canola pods can shatter and release seeds before harvest, causing financial and yield losses by as much as 50 percent. The gene was found to be 10 times more shatter-tolerant than canola. Harsh Raman, research leader, said his team is developing “several elite lines” for release  to “Australian canola breeders within two to three months.”

Canola was the focus of a study published in the Agronomy Journal, which looked at the economic impact of residual nitrogen and preceding crops on it and wheat. The study took place over six years across western Canada. Canola was seeded in 2010 and 2012 with residual nitrogen, with the greatest impact on the 2014 harvest. It concluded that residual nitrogen was “generally insufficient to optimize crop production” but could reduce economic risk from overapplication of fertilization.

As global temperatures continue to rise, it could have an adverse reaction to canola crops in the years to come. The American Society of Agronomy looked at the impact of nighttime temperatures on winter canola crops and found they suffered when temperatures rose to 68-73 degrees at night. Canola plants perform cellular-level maintenance during nighttime hours that impacts how much oil it can produce. When the temperature is too high, it limits the amount of work the plant can do during those critical hours. Meghnath Pokharel, a doctoral student at Kansas State University who conducted the study, says she and others are “looking to develop winter canola with enhanced resilience to future warming scenarios.”


Canola oil was grossly misrepresented in a Dec. 7 news release by Temple University related to the study, “Effect of canola oil consumption on memory, synapse and neuropathology in the triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease,” by Elisabetta Lauretti and Dominico Pratico. It was published in Scientific Reports – an online, open-access journal. The findings of this small study in mice do not support negative claims about canola oil, especially in humans. The misinformation was addressed in a news release and critique by the U.S. Canola Association with comments from independent scientists who reviewed the study. In summary, the canola oil-fed mice showed a slight difference in behavior in one of six tests, which does not equate to “significant deficits of working memory.” Moreover, the canola oil-fed mice gained weight because they were consuming more calories than the other mice; the two diets were not balanced for fat content.

A new year often comes with new goals to be happier and healthier. CTV News released a list of 11 ways to boost your mood for 2018. Its suggestions? Laugh more, spend more time with friends, meditate and eat more foods rich in omega-3 fats. CTV listed canola oil as a source of omega-3. So cook more with canola oil for a healthier you!

We know that canola oil is healthy for humans, but it also has proven benefits for animals, too. Dr. Kenneth Kalscheur, a prominent dairy nutrition researcher, showed his findings on “Canola Meal vs. Soybean Meal in Dairy Cow Diets” at the Penn State Dairy Nutrition Workshop in December. He said after many trials, canola meal yields more milk – from 0.6-1.4 more liters per cow per day – compared to soybean meal in mid-lactation cows. Kalscheur also found that the canola feed showed a greater increase in milk for early lactation cows, up to 4.45 more liters per day. The Canola Council of Canada said those findings are significant for dairy farmers in Canada who are seeking to improve performance and lower costs.

Other Country News

It’s been a big month for the canola industry in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with Canola Council of Canada President Jim Everson, traveled to China as part of a trade mission. China is a major importer of Canadian canola, but its tariff on canola seed are three times higher than that of soybeans. SaskCanola estimates that fewer trade restrictions between the two countries would bring in an extra $1 billion in Canada’s canola trade, CTV reports.

Ahead of the Canadian trade meeting, the Chinese government was expected to sign off on three biotech traits developed by Canadian canola producers that experts say will trigger an extra $400 million in annual export sales, according to Global News. This did not happen but the Canola Council of Canada was encouraged nonetheless. “After approval in China, these traits will help Canadian farmers adopt innovation and be more competitive, producing an estimated $400 million more canola every year using the same amount of land and inputs,” Everson said.

Statistics Canada released its crop report last month that revealed good news for the industry: production reached a new record of 21.3 million tonnes – higher than expected. The report found that canola, along with soybean, oats and corn, was up from last year. Barley and wheat, by comparison, dropped from 2016.

Just in the nick of time, the European Commission greenlit Australian canola to enter the market in 2018. Australian canola farmers had to demonstrate that the crop met the EU’s new feedstock requirements for biodiesel or it would have been shut out as of Jan. 1. The confirmation comes as a relief for the Australian Oilseed Federation and Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC). “’Many Australian farmers rely on canola production, and securing access to lucrative markets like the EU is crucial to underpin the security and general profitability of cropping in many farm regions across Australia,” said AEGIC Chief Economist Ross Kingwell. Canola exports to the EU are worth more than $1 billion, so failure to prove the crop’s value would have been a big loss for the Australian canola industry.

Latest Industry News

Cargill introduced the lowest saturated fat, high-oleic canola oil yet, expected on store shelves in early 2018. This latest specialty oil reduces saturated fat by 35 percent over other high-oleic canola oils. It comes at a ideal time: the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that saturated fat should make up no more than 10 percent of daily caloric intake. “We dedicated 10 years to finding a canola hybrid that could improve the nutrition profile of our oil,” says Lorin Debonte of Cargill research and development. “At the same time, the canola was bred to meet customer demands — providing high yield and disease resistance for growers and taste, shelf life and fry life qualities for our food manufacturers and restaurant customers.”

The National Biodiesel Board elected USCA board member Ryan Pederson to its eight-member governing board on Nov. 30 in Washington, D.C.

The new Pacific Northwest Canola Association elected the following  its producer members:
●    Tim Dillin – Bonners Ferry, ID
●    Dale Flikkema – Belgrade, MT
●    Ray Mosman – Nezperce, ID
●    Don Nagy – Sunburst, MT
●    Randy Perkins – Athena, OR
●    Douglas Poole – Mansfield, WA
●    Anna Scharf – Amity, OR
●    Dennis Swinger – Lind, WA
●    Jon Walters – Walla Walla, WA
●    Kyle Wasson – Whitewater, MT

Washington State University will host oilseed workshops Jan. 22 (in Hartline), 24 (Tri-Cities) and 25 (in Colfax). Dan Orchard, agronomist at the Canola Council of Canada, will be there for each workshop, and Mike Stamm, winter canola breeder at Kansas State University will be there Jan. 22 and 24, offering their knowledge. For more information, follow the WSU Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems Facebook page.

About the USCA

The USCA’s annual board and membership meeting will be Feb. 12-14 in Washington, D.C. To register, click here. The association, along with the Honey Bee Health Coalition and the American Honey Producers Association, will host a “We Love Honey Bees” reception at the U.S. Botanic Garden on Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 6 to 8 pm in honor of pollinators. Canola is one of many crops that relies on pollinators for production.

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