Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest


Capitol Hill

A coalition of eight agricultural organizations—including the U.S. Canola Association and five other groups representing commodities primarily grown in northern states—support a series of farm bill proposals. According to a document submitted at a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, the coalition agreed on a long list of issues related to funding and commodity, crop insurance and conservation programs.

This year the biodiesel industry may get its wish for a $1 per gallon producer’s credit/tax incentive as part of a broad tax reform bill from the Trump administration. The credit previously in place-which expired at the end of last year-was a blender’s credit that encouraged imports of biodiesel. But a producer’s credit would curtail imports while boosting the production of U.S. biodiesel. “This administration has got this view of making America great again, so paying a $1 per gallon subsidy to two million tons of Argentinian biodiesel doesn’t seem to make sense,” Dan Basse, president of Ag-Resource Co.. told The Western Producer.

Agronomy

For about seven years, a research team of plant scientists has been studying the potential for growing canola in California. According to a paper they published in the March 2017 Crop Science, winter cropping canola could help California farmers deal with droughts and reduced irrigation water availability. “In California, there is a long-standing interest in canola as a cool-season crop,” the researchers wrote. “It has been evaluated intermittently since the late 1970s, and this work suggests it has high yield potential in the region.”

Pushing for greater canola yields? Have you checked the molybdenum levels in your plants? You should. That’s because molybdenum, commonly referred to as “moly,” is an essential element for plant growth. “… if your soil and ultimately your crop is deficient in molybdenum, it affects nitrogen uptake which in turn reduces yields,” Mike Dolinski, an agronomy specialist with Agri-Trend Agrology, told Grainews. Canola is a plant that requires more moly than others — about five times as much as cereal crops like wheat. To determine if your canola is getting enough moly, Dolinski recommends checking the pH of your soil, with ideal levels in the 8-8.5 pH range.

Tennessee State University has announced a research assistantship with winter canola beginning this fall. The position will help identify the effects of different rates of nitrogen fertilizer or planting date on winter canola yield, oil and protein content, and specific physiological plant processes. For more information, contact Jason de Koff, associate professor of bioenergy crop production in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Nutrition

A ban on trans fats in New York restaurants has been tied to fewer heart attacks and strokes in the state, according to a study published in the April 2017 JAMA Cardiology. Higher consumption of trans fat—found primarily in partially hydrogenated oils—is linked to increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death. That’s because trans fat raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol. If such fat is replaced with healthier substitutes like canola oil, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada estimates that as many as 30,000 cardiac deaths per decade could be prevented in Canada.

Before there was canola, there was rapeseed from which oil was used in lamps and as lubricant for steam engines. But in the 1960s, plant breeder Richard K. Downey transformed rapeseed into a healthy and edible oil-producing crop now known as canola. And these days, its oil isn’t just used for frying foods, noted the Globe and Mail (Canada). At Langdon Hall, an inn and spa in Cambridge, Ont., Chef Jason Bangerter uses canola oil to make a soft and buttery sorbet that he says gives it “a toasted corn flavor [that’s] so unique and interesting.”

Other Country News

Canola growers in Australia are being warned about increased risk for blackleg after the Grain Research Development Corporation updated its disease resistance ratings for canola varieties and cultivars at the end of March. In its most recent blackleg management guide, the Australian government group includes recommendations for reducing the chance of blackleg damage, suggesting a buffer of 500 meters between last year’s canola crop and this year’s plantings.

A spike in planned canola plantings and poor seed production last season has left seed companies in Australia dealing with a major seed shortage. According to The Weekly Times, certain hybrid canola varieties—including most Clearfield® and Roundup Ready® hybrid varieties—are sold out, and some growers have only received half of their orders. Kevin Morthorpe of GenTech Seeds blames cool spring temperatures and cloudy days affecting pollination, flooding in some areas, and an increase in canola acreage because of its strong price (relative to wheat) for the discrepancy between supply and demand.

Latest Industry News

The Washington State University Oilseed Cropping Systems (WOCS) project has a new website, which includes a list of Pacific Northwest (PNW) suppliers, presentations from the 2017 WOCS annual meeting and oilseed workshops, variety trial data, facts sheets and peer-reviewed publications. WOCS now has a Facebook page, too; search for WSU Oilseeds. The WOCS team will plant another round of on-farm spring and winter canola variety trials and a seeding rate/plant population study at four locations in eastern Wash. They will host tours at the winter trials in mid-May and at the spring trials in mid-June. Finally, a PNW Canola Grower Association is still in the works. Acreage in all four PNW states (Wash., Ore., Idaho and Mont.) increased significantly since last year.

Jim Everson will be the new Canola Council of Canada (CCC) president, effective in July. “Jim is a respected leader who brings significant industry vision, as well as understanding of the domestic and global issues and opportunities we face,” said David Dzisiak, chair of the CCC board of directors, in a press release. Everson’s experience includes more than six years with the CCCC as vice president of government relations from 2008 to 2015. He also served as executive director of the Canadian Oilseed Processors Association and Soy Canada as well as a government relations consultant in Ottawa, Ont.

The 50th anniversary celebration of the Canola Council of Canada continues! Visit CanolaHistory.ca to view an interactive timeline, share your canola story, and check out 50 years of industry and organizational leadership.

About the USCA

Visit the U.S. Canola Association (USCA) website to read our latest blogFederal Research Committed to Canola Industry—authored by Jeffrey Steiner, program leader at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. He writes that “the USDA’s NIFA and the canola industry are engaged in supporting research to improve canola productivity and profitability in ways that will lead to expanded production around the country.” Steiner’s snapshot of what’s happening in canola research includes competitive grant programs, cutting-edge genetic research, and other research projects with the Agricultural Research Service and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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