Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest


Capitol Hill

On Dec. 18, President Obama signed into law an omnibus appropriations bill and a package of tax provisions, both of which include items that will impact farmers and the agricultural industry. Among other measures, the omnibus spending act repeals the mandatory country of origin labeling law, increases funding for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and continues funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program at current levels. Relevant tax benefits include a five-year extension of the bonus depreciation for property acquired and placed in service during 2015 through 2019. For more specifics on the agriculture-related spending and tax measures, see the USCA blog, What’s New.

Presdient Obama also signed into law the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act. The U.S. Canola Association (USCA) joined 34 agricultural organizations in a letter of support for the legislation earlier this year. It includes common-sense reforms to improve the Surface Transportation Board (STB) such as strengthening STB’s independence, improving how it functions, requiring more transparency on the status of STB proceedings and complaints brought before the agency, and providing for a voluntary arbitration process to resolve disputes involving unreasonable rail rates and practices.

Good news for biodiesel: The industry will be operating at near capacity if the 2017 biodiesel use mandate is met, reported AgWeek. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Nov. 30 announcement on Renewable Fuel Standard volumes set the domestic level of biodiesel use to 2 billion gallons a year by 2017 — double the minimum amount required by the original law. What does this news mean to the oilseed sector? It takes a little more than 7.5 pounds of vegetable oil to produce a gallon of biodiesel, so the demand for canola may increase, depending on its price relative to other feedstocks, AgWeek noted.

Agronomy

About 300 people, mostly farmers and agribusiness workers, attended the Northern Canola Growers Association’s (NCGA’s) 19th annual Canola Expo Dec. 8 in Langdon, N.D. This city is in Cavalier County, which leads U.S. canola production. The state’s terrific 2015 canola yields likely prompted a high turnout at the event and will encourage producers to grow the crop in 2016, said Barry Coleman,  NCGA’s executive director, in AgWeek.

Results from the 2015 Minnesota Canola Production Centre (CPC) were presented at the Minnesota Canola Council’s annual winter meeting in December in Roseau. The 2015 CPC was located on Magnusson Farms northwest of Roseau with a satellite site on the Peter Grafstrom farm east of Roseau. Trials were spearheaded by the University of Minnesota’s Nancy Ehlke, Donn Vellekson and Dave Grafstrom, and included trials focused on canola rotation; nitrogen rate, source, and timing; intensive versus traditional canola management; seeding rate and row spacing; and variety and systems comparisons. A full report of the 2015 CPC results, including comprehensive agronomic information for each trial, will be on the Council’s website.

Nutrition

“Keep all your holiday desserts waistline-friendly by baking with canola oil,” wrote registered dietitian Julie Upton in an article on holiday favorites with health benefits for PopSugar.com. In addition to its low saturated fat content, a study on canola oil shows it may reduce belly fat, she noted.

When it came time to celebrate Hanukkah in December, even the White House reached for canola oil, according to The New York Times. A story on holiday reception preparations in the White House noted the kitchen fries thousands of latkes in canola oil.

FoodNetwork.com tapped nutrition experts for tips on lightening up holiday fare without affecting flavor. Among the suggestions, registered dietitian Jill Weisenberger recommended substituting solid fats with healthier fats, including canola oil.

Other Country News

Canada’s canola output was expected to increase 5 percent in December 2015 after expectations of a 15 percent decline in November, reported Bloomberg Business. “Everybody’s jaws just hit their desk,” said an analyst at PI Financial in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “It’s a game-changer for canola.” Canola output will rise to 17.2 million metric tons from 16.4 million in 2014 as yields climb 8.3 percent to 38 bushels an acre – the second-highest ever, following beneficial rain, according to a December Statistics Canada report.

Canola futures rose more than 1 percent Dec. 1, 2015, in part due to news from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it would raise biofuel mandates. Canola markets were also propped up by the Canadian dollar and a revised production outlook from Australia, reported The Western Producer. Australia’s canola production is forecasted at 2.99 million tonnes, down from the previous forecast of 3.15 million tonnes, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences.

Latest Industry News

Washington State University (WSU) will offer regional oilseed workshops Jan. 19 in Colfax, Jan. 21 in Odessa and Jan. 26 in Dayton. In prior years, the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association hads joined the WSU Oilseed conference, but WSU regional extension specialist Karen Sowers told Capital Press this year’s workshops will take a more regional approach. The workshops will also cover alternative uses for oilseed crops, such as livestock grazing or harvesting for silage. Register at css.wsu.edu/biofuels.

The Great Plains Canola Association (GPCA) will host Canola College 2016 on Feb. 18 at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center in Enid, Okla. The event is open to anyone with an interest in the canola industry, including experienced or first time growers, crop insurance agents, members of agricultural governmental agencies, and canola industry service and product providers. Speakers will address topics such as variety selection, advanced production practices, and managing canola in conventional and conservation tillage systems. Contact Ron Sholar, GPCA executive director for more information or register at www.canola.okstate.edu.

Cibus, a leader in non-transgenic breeding and precision gene editing, announced today the launch of its 50-50-50-50 Grower Program. The program includes four different bonuses to farmers who purchase and plant Cibus SU Canola (Sulfonylurea Tolerant) or sign a Cargill non-transgenic grain production contract. Rewards include a volume bonus, loyalty bonus, Cargill contract bonus and an expenses-paid trip to San Diego. More information at www.cibuscanola.com.

A few hundred Canadian farmers are expected to participate in a three-year competition to produce a record 100-bushel yield on a 50-acre plot of dryland canola, reported GrainNews. The Canola 100 challenge launched in 2015, jointly sponsored by the consulting firm Agri-Trend Agrology, Glacier Farm Media and John Deere. It is open to all Canadian canola growers. The grand prize includes use of a fleet of John Deere equipment.

About the USCA

The USCA annual membership and board of directors meeting will be at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., Feb 22-24, 2016.  Click here to register and submit payment. Also, the annual Canola on Capitol Hill reception will be on Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in the Hart Office Building.

New on the USCA blog: John Van Dam, president and general manager of HyValley Seed Management Inc., wrote about working with millions of honey bees every summer on his canola fields in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Van Dam brings in 12 to 16 flatbed trucks of hives each year to pollinate the crop. Visit the blog, What’s New, for more commentary and discussions of key issues impacting the U.S. canola industry.

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