Canola Quick Bytes
A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest
Congress again extended the FY2024 agriculture appropriations bill, this time through March 1. The Continuing Resolution (CR), the third Congress has passed this fiscal year, avoids a government shutdown and gives more time to reach agreement and pass a full-year funding deal. House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed to a $1.7 trillion topline funding in January and appropriations leaders are now working on funding levels for each agency.
Agricultural groups, including the U.S. Canola Association, joined forces again in a letter to the Biden Administration to stress the importance of crop insurance. They urged against any cuts to the Federal Crop Insurance Program in the President’s FY2025 budget proposal.
Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) introduced a bill that would freeze the wage rate for H-2A temporary agricultural visa holders until the end of 2025. Entitled the “Supporting Farm Operations Act,” this bill follows a bipartisan letter by members of Congress in support of including a wage freeze in the FY2024 appropriations bills. The U.S. Department of Labor has issued H-2A Adverse Effect Wage Rates that significantly increase rates in a number of states.
Last year was another record-setting year for U.S. canola with 4.16 billion pounds produced on 2.3 million acres, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS’s) Jan. 12 annual crop production summary for the 2023 growing season. North Dakota led this production with a record 3.4 billion pounds on 1.9 million acres with an average yield of 1,810 lbs. per acre. (Northern Canola Association Executive Director Barry Coleman summarizes the record production on Red River Farm Network.) Minnesota also reached a new record average yield of 2,470 lbs. per acre along with a 15% increase in acreage. Production in the Pacific Northwest increased noticeably as well, with Washington and Montana combined accounting for over 500 million pounds of production. Idaho, which was excluded in the NASS report, had 100,000 planted acres per a Jan. 2 USDA Farm Service Agency report. A conservative 1,500-lb average yield for Idaho would equate to another 150 million pounds of production.
Winter canola 2024 planting estimates were released by the USDA-NASS on Jan. 12 as well. Planted acres increased by factor of 10 in Oklahoma to 30,000 and doubled in Kansas to 3,000 for a combined total of 33,000.
Canola farmers should note March 15 as the USDA Risk Management Agency’s (RMA’s) final date to apply for 2024 crop insurance for spring crops. Current policyholders who wish to make changes to their existing coverage must also do so by this date. Federal crop insurance is critical to the farm safety net. It helps producers manage revenue risks and strengthens the rural economy. Crop insurance is sold solely through private insurance agents. A list of these agents is available at all USDA service centers and online via the RMA Agent Locator. Farmers can use the RMA Cost Estimator to get an estimate of their insurance premium.
Looking for resources on best practices for growing canola? The U.S. Canola Association website has useful links, including to its own USCA Canola Grower Manual and regional guides as well as to variety trial data.
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has approved omega-3-enhanced canola oil for use in salmon feed. That’s because the omega-3 supplement enhances fish flesh and pigmentation and nutrition. “The production of genetically modified canola has great potential for growth and will probably become an important new source of omega-3 in the fish feed,” says Bente Ruyter, senior scientist at Nofima. Research ascertaining the benefits of canola oil with long-chain or marine omega-3 fat was financed by the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund and in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Research, Nuseed and Mowi.
Treating canola meal with carbohydrase enzymes improves digestibility in broiler chickens as well as promotes the growth of probiotic bacteria that protect gut health, according to a study by the University of Manitoba. Published in the journal Animal Feed Science and Technology, the study shows that replacing standard canola meal with one treated with carbohydrase enzymes decreased the abundance of harmful E. coli bacteria and triggered the growth of helpful lactic acid in the digestive tracts of chickens. These effects not only promote gut health in chickens but have to potential to do so in other animals, suggested Anna Rogiewicz, one of the paper’s authors.
In an open letter, 34 Nobel Laureates and hundreds of other scientists, totaling more than 1,000 signatories, called upon on European Union Members of Parliament to support new genomic techniques, such as gene editing, to address the climate crisis. The EU must “reject the darkness of anti-science fearmongering,” they wrote, before a key vote on gene editing. The letter was organized by WePlanet, an environmental nonprofit. The European Food Safety Authority has found no new hazards from targeted gene editing in plants compared with conventional breeding.
The Canadian Crops Convention hosted by the Canola Council of Canada and Canada Grains Council will be March 5-7 at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dr. Alyssa Whitcraft, executive director for NASA Harvest, will give a keynote on how advances in satellite systems, computational environments and artificial intelligence are enabling the global agricultural system to meet increasing demands.
Latest Industry News
The Minnesota Canola Council (MCC) is seeking farmers for three director seats this election year: At Large, District 2 (Kittson/Marshall counties) and District 4 (all other counties). These are three-year terms. Interested? Contact MCC Executive Director Beth Nelson at email@example.com.
Minnesota canola updates are captured in the 2022-23 MCC Annual Report and 2023 Canola Production Centre (CPC) Report. The latter includes data related to research trials on 1) variety and systems comparison; 2) seed shattering; 3) micronutrient fertility management in high- yielding canola; 4) soil-applied and post-emergence herbicides to reduce potential development of herbicide-resistant weeds; and 5) current and novel insecticide seed treatments in canola.
The value of canola was illustrated in an elaborate scheme by Shawn Sawa, 47, formerly of Clovis, Calif., who plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in stealing $4.8 million worth of canola from international food processors, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California. Per 2015-17 court documents , Sawa and Richard Best stole the canola then sold it for a windfall through Best’s now defunct train-to-truck transloading company, Richard Best Transfer Inc.
About the USCA
Save the date! The next USCA meeting will be in Washington, D.C., March 18-20, 2024.
Want to see exactly where spring and winter canola is growing in the United States? The USCA has a canola acreage map by county on its website.
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