Canola Quick Bytes
A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest
The U.S. Canola Association (USCA), Northern Canola Growers Association, Minnesota Canola Council, Great Plains Canola Association and more than 350 other members of the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food signed a letter urging all members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. The bill, introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), called for voluntary biotech food labeling to prevent patchwork state-based labeling requirements.
After months of public comment, the Vermont attorney general’s office formally adopted regulations to implement the state’s biotech food labeling law. Act 120, signed into law in 2014, will require mandatory labeling of food produced with modern biotechnology beginning in July 2016.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced its timeline for setting the Renewable Fuel Standard volume requirements. The volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2014 through 2017 will be released in a Proposed Rule by June 1, 2015 and finalized by Nov. 30, 2015. For 2014, the agency has said it will propose requirements that “reflect the volumes of renewable fuel that were actually used in 2014.” Over 1 billion pounds of canola oil were used in U.S. biodiesel production in 2014.
The USCA submitted comments in April to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency regarding the evaluation of prevented planting (PP) coverage. The USCA agreed with the agency’s concern over the high incidence of PP indemnity payments in the Northern Plains, however, it disagreed with the recommendation to reduce canola PP coverage level from 60 to 45 percent for the base policy. Instead, the USCA recommended eliminating the option for producers to buy up the additional 10 percent coverage for canola; reducing base policy PP coverage for canola from 60 to 55 percent based on the cost of pre-applied nitrogen application; and harmonizing canola final planting dates with other competing crops so canola is not the first crop targeted for PP in wet years.
The USCA also submitted comments to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, supporting its recommendations for consumers to: 1) reduce intake of saturated fats to 10 percent of total daily calories; 2) consume non-partially hydrogenated vegetable oils relatively low in saturated fats instead of tropical oils or animal fats; and 3) increase consumption of foods rich in vitamin E. The USCA also supported the committee’s call for further research into the effects of replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats verses monounsaturated fats on cardiovascular disease risk.
Blackleg was discovered last month in 10 of 11 Northern Idaho winter canola fields. So far it has affected from one to 40 percent of the plants per field. Karen Sowers, Washington State University outreach and extension specialist for oilseeds, encouraged area growers via AgInfo.net to scout the crops and Brassica weeds in their fields for blackleg. She also said the best way to prevent its spread is to buy certified blackleg-free seed and apply a seed treatment. While blackleg has not been sighted in Washington, updates on the outbreak are online.
Commercial beekeeper Lee Townsend and Canola Council of Canada agronomist Gregory Sekulic spoke with Alberta Canola Producers about bee health and pollinators’ contribution to canola production. “It’s symbiotic the relationship between bees and canola,” said Sekulic. Despite concerns by some connecting neonicotinoids to bee losses, bee health has never been stronger in parts of Canada, Townsend and Sekulic said. Nonetheless they agree communication between growers and beekeepers is essential to a thriving canola crop and a healthy bee population. They provided tips for how to properly apply pesticides to avoid bees, such as spraying in the evening or at a certain temperature point.
Ag Professional featured a cover story about winter canola in its April 2015 issue, noting its increasing acreage in the United States. Canola’s benefits as a rotational crop in the southern Great Plains and Southeast were discussed along with the USCA’s national acreage goals of 3.7 million acres by 2018.
NorthStar Agri Industries data showed that fertility management was the biggest factor in yield for North Dakota “star” growers. Their average yield was 2,234 pounds per acre compared to the state average of 1,800 pounds per acre. In the top 20 percent of fields, 75 percent were soil-sampled in the current year compared to only seven percent of fields sampled in the bottom 20 percent.
Kansas State University agronomists Mike Stamm and Dorivar Ruiz Diaz penned an article for Ag Professional about how to maximize the yield potential of winter canola. They suggested topdressing the crop with nitrogen, sulfur and boron in the winter during the rosette stage while the canola is dormant. Also, to avoid crushing plants, choose applicators with narrow tires.
A grower in east Idaho tried a new production method recommended by Jack Brown, a researcher from the University of Idaho, according to Capital Press. To avoid snow mold, growers plant their winter canola in the spring, which is about four months early, allowing the root system to fully develop to withstand the winter conditions.
ani Hari, known as the “Food Babe” to the Internet, writes frequently about certain ingredients she’s declared “toxic.” The blogger recently took issue with canola oil, but a Health magazine columnist on FoxNews.com pointed out her science is “off” and helped dismiss this rumor among other misleading declarations by Hari. Citing the chief scientific officer for the Center for Accountability in Science, Health reported, “Canola oil is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and has a high smoke point (making it great for cooking).”
A Columbia Dispatch reader asked: Which cooking oil is best for my health? The columnist recommended canola oil for frying because it’s affordable and provides many health benefits, stating it is lower in saturated fat and higher in heart-healthy omega-3 fat than peanut oil.
In this video, the editor-in-chief of Everwell dispelled the myth that canola oil is harmful. He explained the history of canola oil’s development and its health benefits, highlighting that canola oil is low in erucic acid, high in heart-healthy fats and reduces bad cholesterol when used in place of saturated fat.
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According to a survey from Statistics Canada, canola plantings for 2015 were down 4.5 percent or 900,000 acres from last year. Instead of canola, growers are turning to wheat due to a recent price decline in the U.S. wheat market. “If indeed canola acres come in that low, it is quite significant for the canola market outlook because supplies are comfortable, but not exactly abundant,” noted a spokesman for PI Financial. “So, we can’t afford to lose 900,000 acres from last year the way this report is indicating.”
Latest Industry News
Canola is gaining popularity in Oklahoma despite weather issues, according to Enid News. Introduced to the state in 2003 as weed control for wheat fields, canola has continued to help clean up wheat fields. Canola is now grown on about 250,000 acres in Oklahoma.
A study conducted by North Dakota State University is looking into whether soybean yields increase when the crop is planted after canola, according to The Western Producer. Anecdotally, Minnesota and North Dakota growers have observed an increase, but the study will help evaluate the relationship through concrete data, researchers said. If the study agrees with growers’ reports, canola could see a boost in acreage in North Dakota.
About the USCA
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Thank you to those of you who provided feedback via our communications survey. Results showed that more people use their laptop than smartphone or tablet to access the USCA website; readers most value updates on agronomy, industry news and research; and there is interest in a canola price ticker and phone application. Read the rest of the results on the USCA website.