Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest

Capitol Hill

The 2018 Farm Bill will be challenging due to renewed efforts to reduce program costs — primarily in SNAP, Title 1 and crop insurance — and a downward U.S. agricultural economy, notes U.S. Canola Association Executive Director John Gordley. In an article on, he reviews how the Agricultural Act of 2014 is performing, what problems have arisen and how these concerns might be addressed before and during the upcoming debate. “It’s also time to consider the need for production agriculture to work cooperatively with former partners in the conservation and nutrition communities to avoid another protracted struggle which could imperil getting a bill done at all,” he says. “In this environment, finding the ‘sweet spot’ where everyone is satisfied with their level of support going forward will be a major challenge.”

The U.S. Air Force is testing the use of a new bio-based oil in its vehicles. The oil — made from a blend of canola and soybean oils plus synthetic petroleum — is more eco-friendly than other oils because of its plant-based properties. The initial testing period is for 12-18 months and occurring on four bases, chosen for their differences in climate or vehicle use. If the tests prove successful, the oil will be made available for purchase. It supports the sustainable objectives of both the Air Force and the Defense Department. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Law Enforcement Training Center is in the process of testing the bio-based oil in its own vehicles.


Bee pollination is responsible for up to 95 percent of seed canola yield, but the bees’ effect on commercial hybrid canola crops remains up for debate and research. While some studies have shown that bees have little impact on hybrid canola yields, others have supported a strong correlation between the two. In fact, in one study, pollinators were found to make up for the effects of not fertilizing. “The insects basically brought the yield up to the level that they would have seen if they had fertilized,” Alberta agriculture researcher Shelley Hoover told The Western Producer.

Farmers in the Pacific Northwest are encouraged to check their canola for possible blackleg infection, which has been discovered in both Oregon and Idaho. Though fungicides will not help existing blackleg, their use does help prevent it from spreading. “It’s not a fear factor at all,” Karen Sowers, oilseed cropping systems research associate with Washington State University, told Capital Press. “It’s a treatable thing, but we need to keep it under control.” Researchers from Washington State University, the University of Idaho and Oregon State University are available to answer grower’s questions or test for potential blackleg infections.

The Northern Canola Growers Association (NCGA) awarded $220,000 this year to help fund nine research projects that address disease identification and control, how to decrease production costs and ways to increase the quality of canola. The research is funded by the NCGA and North Dakota Oilseed Council. More funding is expected this year based on research priorities.


Monounsaturated fat — like those found in plant-based oils, such as canola — can help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, said Dr. John Swartzberg in the Huffington Post. Such oils also provide vitamin E. According to a recent study, swapping out 5 percent of the saturated fat calories you consume from red meat, cream and butter for calories from vegetable oils, nuts and seeds can reduce your risk of death from heart disease by 13 percent.

“Many Japanese look for olive oil in fancy bottles because they think it’s the healthiest oil. However, the less expensive canola oil is better,” said Dr. Kunihiro Kitano, chief co-ordinator for the Northern Advancement Centre for regional innovation strategy in Sapporo, Japan, to The Western Producer. Kitano is busy conducting research to up the value of food and nutritional products. His motivation? The Japanese are living longer, but an increasingly aging population doesn’t necessarily translate into better quality of life.

What does “Top Chef” host, author, model and mom Padma Lakshmi cook at home? One of her daughter’s favorite dishes: nasi goreng or Balinese fried rice, according to SheKnows. The healthy stir-fry is made with canola oil, veggies and fresh herbs.

Other Country News

Farmers in Canada, the world’s biggest exporter of canola, are expected to plant less canola this year, reported AgWeek. According to the government’s first farmer survey of crop sowings in 2016, canola plantings are expected to cover 19.3 million acres in 2016 — 4 percent less than in 2015.

China’s new standard for foreign material
has been delayed in implementation until Sept. 1, Reuters reported. Under the new and tougher standard, China will not allow more than 1 percent foreign material, like straw and other plant seeds, per canola shipment. The current maximum amount of foreign material allowed is 2.5 percent. The 1 percent max originated from concerns about potential transmission of blackleg to Chinese crops, which could put some $1.6 billion worth of Canadian exports at risk.

Latest Inudstry News

The Canola Council of Canada hopes to triple acreage for high-oleic canola from 11 to 33 percent by 2026. That’s because high-stability canola oil is viewed as a great option for blending with heavy, saturated fats for food processing. “The opportunity here is to use a small amount of the fully hydro oil and blend with a large part of the liquid oil to get some of that functionality without the same trans fat constraints,” said Erik Heggen, Archer Daniels Midland vice president for refined oils. Many food processors look to regular canola oil as well due to its large production, sourcing by multiple companies, and relative affordability and dependability.

About the USCA

Learn about the art of plant breeding in this month’s USCA blog. Dr. Bernice Slutsky of the American Seed Trade Association notes: “Some of the latest breeding methods provide new ways to make similar genetic changes. Now breeders can make very specific changes in existing plant genes as they would occur in nature.”

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