Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest

Capitol Hill

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a one-time extension for producers to update their base acres or yield history for Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The new deadline is March 31, 2015, which is also the final day farm owners and producers can choose ARC or PLC coverage. “This is an important decision for producers, because these programs provide financial protection against unexpected changes in the marketplace,” Vilsack said. If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by the new deadline, the farm’s current yield and base will be used. If no ARC or PLC choice is made, there will be no 2014 payments and farms will default to PLC coverage through the 2018 crop year.

Federal lawmakers (36) wrote to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy in early February, urging the EPA to set new renewable fuel mandates for 2014 and 2015, according to the Des Moines Register. The lawmakers argued the delay is causing biodiesel producers to reduce their work force and close plants. A survey showed 80 percent of U.S. biodiesel producers had scaled back production last year, and about 60 percent stopped production altogether because the standards were not announced. The EPA is expected to rule on the 2014 and 2015 standards sometime this year.

Republicans, now the majority in the Senate, control both chambers of 114th Congress and are eager to show they can govern. The first bill they tackled was to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline; it passed the Senate 62-36 on Jan. 30 and the House 270-152 on Feb. 11. As promised, President Obama vetoed this legislation, according to Reuters, and since there isn’t a two-thirds margin in Congress to override it, the bill will likely not become law.


Canada’s Country Guide featured a series of articles in February about canola production, including straight-cutting. One article reported on a study by the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute in Saskatchewan, which set benchmarks for shatter losses using four different equipment configurations on two different canola varieties. Researchers used standard swathing as the control method and tested three straight-cutting headers: draper, rigid auger and European-style. Preliminary observations showed that all treatments worked well, so researchers will test a variety of factors the next two years to identify significant advantages and challenges.

Also reported in Country Guide, the Canola Council of Canada ran the “Ultimate Canola Challenge” the last two years to look at products and practices that could help improve canola yields. To test the best nitrogen rates, a panel determined the best rate for each site and applied it at 75, 100 and 125 percent. At the 75 percent rate, a statistical and economic disadvantage was evident. For 100 percent, it was $15-20 more than 75 percent, but it produced a three bushel per acre increase in yield. There was no advantage at the 125 percent rate.

A scientist from Syngenta Canada Inc. shared in Grainews three factors to look for when choosing canola seed. First is yield stability. Choose a hybrid that has consistently performed over several years. Then consider varieties with multiple blackleg-resistance genes, as it’s the hardest disease to control right now. The final factor is standability, which can indicate how easy and efficient the harvest will be.

At Canola College in Enid, Okla., Jeff Scott, president of the Great Plains Canola Association and president-elect of the U.S. Canola Association, maintained optimism for the benefits of winter canola despite the losses caused by drought in 2014. He pointed out that some of the best wheat pasture ground was planted on failed canola acres. “We’ve got to look at over two, three, four, five years, average those returns, and I guarantee you will be better off in the long run with canola in your rotation than you will without,” Scott said.


The Nordic Diet continues to grow in popularity, reported Yahoo! Health. It is similar to the Mediterranean diet, except with different foods, such as herring, salmon and lean red meat like bison. Also, instead of olive oil, the Nordic diet uses heart-healthy canola oil. The article cited a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine showing that participants who followed a Nordic diet for 18-24 weeks lowered their ratio of bad cholesterol to good cholesterol, reducing their risk of cardiovascular disease.

A Fox News article reminded us that heart disease causes one in four deaths in the U.S. To keep your heart healthy, the American Heart Association recommends using better-for-you oils, such as canola, as it is high in unsaturated fats, which can improve cholesterol levels. Canola oil is also best for baking due to its neutral flavor.

With Heart Month wrapping up, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provided tips in the Newton Daily News for getting good fats in your diet. It emphasized the importance of omega-3 fats, which may help lower cholesterol levels and support heart health. One source of omega-3s is canola oil, which is a good substitute for butter in cooking and baking.

Oils Around the World

An animated novel series in Canada is teaching children about canola, according to the Alberta Farmer Express. The 10-book series follows Chase “Superman” Duffy, a sixth grade student living in central Alberta, who writes stories and practices track in his grandfather’s canola fields. “The very first book we did as a way of explaining the difference between canola and rapeseed, and where canola comes from,” said Simone Demers Collins, education, marketing and promotion coordinator at the Alberta Canola Producers Commission. “That would be a real Canadian story and (a way to) start dispelling some of the myths that we only changed the name of rapeseed.”

Latest Industry News

Northstar Agri Industries has delayed the construction of a canola processing plant in Enid, Okla., due to a drought that reduced canola yield last year, reported Enid News. The plant requires 750,000 to 1 million acres of canola to operate, which is expected to be available next year. The land has been purchased, permits acquired and designs created for the plant.

Cibus Global, a leader in non-biotech trait development, and Rotam, an international crop protection company, announced the release of non-biotech SU Canola in the U.S., according to High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal. With the release also comes two weed control solutions for SU canola from Rotam.

Variety trial results for North Dakota in 2014 were published in Farm and Ranch Guide. The state accounted for 76 percent of canola acreage planted in the U.S. last year. Planting occurred later than normal, as only 2 percent of acres had been planted as of May 11, compared to 23 percent on the same date the previous year. Ninety-three percent of the canola was harvested by Sept. 29, with a similar yield as 2013.

All presentations from the 2015 Pacific Northwest Oilseed and Direct Seed conference are now available online. PowerPoint presentations from the general sessions and oilseed breakout sessions, and also research posters, are on the Washington State University website. Direct seed presentations will be posted as they become available.

About the USCA

The U.S. Canola Association (USCA) Annual Membership and Board of Directors meeting was Feb. 9-11 in Washington, D.C. Representatives from the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Foods, National Biodiesel Board and U.S. Department of State’s Biotechnology and Textile Trade Policy Division addressed the group. Board members met with members of Congress on Capitol Hill to emphasize policy priorities and hosted the annual “Canola on Capitol Hill” reception, which drew about 400 guests.

The March/April 2015 issue of U.S. Canola Digest will be the last in print. For communication continuity, Canola Quick Bytes will continue monthly and the USCA is exploring additional digital options. We welcome reader suggestions at And don’t forget to tell your colleagues to sign up for Canola Quick Bytes online!