Canola Quick Bytes
A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest
Dramatic progress was made on the 2018 Farm Bill in mid-June with the House passing its version of the bill by a vote of 213-211 and the Senate overwhelmingly passing its version right before the July 4th recess by a vote of 86-11. The differences between the two bills will now be reconciled in conference, setting up a final vote on the eventual conference report by the time the current farm bill expires on Sept. 30.
Only a few days are left for public comments on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) food labeling standard for bioengineered ingredients, which are due by July 3rd. The U.S. Canola Association (USCA) is calling for a 5 percent threshold for triggering the disclosure and calls for an exemption of this disclosure on refined foods made from bioengineered ingredients that do not contain genetic material, such as canola oil.
In the June 29 Federal Register, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service called for public comments due August 28 regarding grading standards for canola. The purpose is to determine whether current canola standards and grading practices need to be changed to remain relevant.
In the Wall Street Journal, Mark Lynas excerpted a portion of his upcoming book “Seeds of Science: Why We Got It So Wrong on GMOs,” recounting his time as a scientist hell-bent on discrediting GMO products. He eventually came around and wrote how the anti-GMO community focuses on fanatical arguments that often work against the findings of science. “The anti-GMO campaign has deprived much of the world of a crucial, life-improving technology—and has shown the readiness of many environmentalists to ignore science when it contradicts their prejudices. That’s not the example we need just now as the planet faces the very real threat of climate change,” Lynas noted.
Canola production in Kansas may be steadily growing, but it’s hit a snag this year, reported the High Plains Journal. “We had a pretty hard winter,” said Mike Stamm, a canola breeder with Kansas State University. “We had small canola going into the winter. That combined hurt the crop’s performance this year.” Stamm and the team at Kansas State is working on Roundup Ready varieties that should help the crop survive tough winter conditions. Canola started off with just a few thousand acres in Kansas but ballooned to 50,000 in 2017.
Coming soon: A high-protein canola variety for enhanced animal nutrition. Oils & Fats International magazine reported that DowDupont (now Corteva Agriscience) is in the final stages of developing PoundPro canola, which is set to compete with soybeans for animal feed. It could start selling in early 2019 and is expected to “target pig and poultry farms and fish production facilities in Canada, China and the USA.”
Trans fat has been disappearing from Western diets for several years now and the World Health Organization intends to put the final nail in the coffin of the unhealthy substance with the goal of eliminating it in the global food supply by 2023. Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Chaudhry, head of community medicine at CMH Lahore Medical College in Pakistan, told The News that the ban will make a positive impact on all diets. He said that “restaurants and bakeries should be asked to use a blend of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as combination of canola and olive oil.”
Eat This, Not That! cited canola oil as one of the 100 healthiest foods on the planet, coming in at number 90. The website cites its “near-perfect 2.5:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats,” and encourages readers to use canola oil for everyday cooking situations. “Canola oil can withstand relatively high levels of heat, and its flavor is fairly neutral, so it won’t dominate a dish,” it said. Similarly, Cooking Light magazine gives its readers the low-down on canola oil, arguing that it’s one of the healthiest cooking oils out there, perfect for high-heat cooking and as a substitute for butter.
Other Country News
It’s not just Kansas struggling with its canola crop this year. Australia canola has hit a snag this season, with an expected 13 percent less output than last year. “A dry 2017, especially in eastern Australia, followed by a hot, dry summer opened this season with almost universally below-average soil moisture, in nearly all cases very much below or at record low,” the Western Producer reported. The tricky weather has caused some farmers to switch out to barley and wheat crops.
Latest Industry News
The U.S. Department of Justice gave blessing to the Bayer acquisition of Monsanto last month. According to European Seed magazine, the merger can be finalized as soon as the divestments to BASF have been completed, which are expected to take about two months. “Today is a great day: for our customers – farmers around the world whom we will be able to help secure and improve their harvests even better… and for consumers and broader society because we will be even better placed to help the world’s farmers grow more healthy and affordable food in a sustainable manner,” said Werner Baumann, chair of the Bayer Board of Management.
Monsanto is gearing up to release TruFlex™ canola with RoundUp Ready® technology in time for spring 2019 production, but a representative from Monsanto Canada is ready to talk about how it’ll make a difference for canola production going forward. David Kelner, canola portfolio manager for Monsanto Canada, wrote in the USCA blog how the new technology is already expected to make a difference in field trials this summer in the U.S. and Canada.
About the USCA
The 5th National Canola Research Conference (NCRC), sponsored by the USCA and industry stakeholders, will be Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 5-6, 2018 in Baltimore, Md. It will be held in conjunction with the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) annual meeting. The NCRC will begin with two symposiums, one focusing on canola oil and nutrition research and the other on canola production around the world. The symposiums will be followed by oral and poster presentations. “Held once every four years, this conference is an opportunity for canola researchers to showcase what they have been working on to the broader research community,” said Mike Stamm, NCRC organizer and ASA member.
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