Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest


Capitol Hill

In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to adopt mandatory label restrictions for foliar applications of crop protection products potentially toxic to pollinators, the U.S. Canola Association (USCA) submitted comments of concern on Aug. 21. It said that if these restrictions were implemented without the ability for farmers to apply insecticides during bloom using best management practices, the production of U.S. hybrid canola seed – which accounts for almost all crop acreage – could be substantially limited or even move to other countries. The USCA is also concerned that the proposal may not allow for aerial applications of insecticides during flowering, which “should be allowed during the early morning or late evening timeframes when bees are not active or present in canola.” Considering that hybrid seed producers rely on and pay high costs for the pollination services of honey bees, the safety of these pollinators is their priority.

Agronomy

North Dakota State University Extension agronomist offered tips for swathing versus straight combining canola. Advantages of swathing include reducing green seed content and risk of pod shatter. In regard to straight combining, which includes use of a desiccant to dry down the crop, “research has shown that when a desiccant is timed properly, crop quality parameters, including canola yield, test weight, oil content, seed loss, green count and grade, generally were similar for desiccated canola compared with swathing.”

Ag Professional reported that the Obvius® fungicide seed treatment from BASF received full EPA registration for use on canola. The product protects seedlings against multiple diseases and will be available for the 2016 growing season.

In an open letter on its website, Bayer CropScience posted a critical response to “The Bee Killers” article in the Aug. 27 issue of Rolling Stone magazine. The feature focused on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides and the alleged harm caused to the honey bee population. Bayer’s Director of Pollinator Safety Dave Fischer rebutted the reporter’s claims, including the hypothesis that favorable research results in canola bee trials were an aberration. He cited extensive research showing that neonicotinoids are unlikely to be a significant factor when assessing bee risk.

The DuPont Integrated Seed Science Center opened Aug. 5 in Johnston, Iowa. This is the second DuPont facility dedicated to developing and testing seed treatment formulations and applications as well as seed handling techniques. Aimed at optimizing the genetic performance of seeds, the center houses both laboratories and real-world testing conditions. DuPont opened the first center of this kind in Wilmington, Del., in 2014, and a third facility is planned for South America.

Tennessee State University announced that it harvested its first canola crop on its Nashville campus. The 17 breeding lines were specifically adapted to the Southeast and are being tested in conjunction with Alabama A&M University and Virginia State University. Yield trials are also ongoing at Tennessee State in Davidson and Cheatham counties. The middle Tennessee and northern Alabama regions have recently seen an increase in winter canola production.

Nutrition

The American Heart Association has added a new liquid vegetable oils category to its Heart-Check Food Certification Program, including pure canola, olive and corn oils, as well as corn oil blends containing at least 4 grams per standard serving of corn oil. Certification is expanded to these vegetable oils because they have qualified health claims relating to reduced risk of heart disease authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In order to be eligible for the program, foods must meet FDA regulatory requirements for making a heart disease health claim. The Heart-Check mark on product labels makes it easier for consumers to identify heart-healthy foods in the grocery store.

Public Radio International’s “Science Friday” show tackled the confusion around cooking oils head on, talking to Cornell University Professor of Human Nutrition Tom Brenna. He dismissed a caller’s health concern about canola oil, noting: “In fact, the scientist who gave us the omega-3, omega-6 nomenclature ate canola oil every day for lunch and lived to be about 92 or 93.”

Supporting cell growth, aiding in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and boosting energy … fat plays an essential role in our health. Cooking oils can be a great source of healthy fat, but which ones are best and why? Everydayhealth.com listed its top seven oils, with canola oil getting high marks for its low saturated fat content, qualified health claim and higher smoke point than olive oil, making it a good choice for cooking at high temperatures.

Other Country News

The Canola Council of Canada launched a social media campaign, using the hashtag #CanolaCountry to promote Canadian-grown canola and the importance of international trade, namely the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade agreement between several Pacific Rim countries. Council president Patti Miller told PeaceCountrySun.com: “With more than 90 percent of Canadian canola being exported, we need access to international markets for Canola Country to thrive.”

The results of the five-year “Focus Paddocks” project provided better insight into the agronomics and economics of crop rotations across the Wheatbelt in Western Australia. The project, supported by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia and the Grains Research Development Corporation, monitored the performance of 184 paddocks from across the region. The findings demonstrated that the consistently best-performing rotations across all agricultural regions included canola, whether four years of cereal and one year of canola or three years of cereal and two years of canola.

Latest Industry News

Cargill announced that a new 45,700-square-foot seed innovation facility in Fort Collins, Colo., will serve as its center for specialty canola hybrid development. The company invested $10 million to build the research and development facility, where it will select the next generation of VICTORY® seed varieties that produce Cargill’s Clear Valley® high-oleic canola oils. “The Fort Collins facility is the starting point for our high-oleic canola supply chain and arguably the most strategic piece to the puzzle,” said Cargill Specialty Seeds and Oils President Jenny Verner in an article on CropProtectionNews.com.

Gene editing company Cibus and crop protection manufacturer Rotam announced an agreement to co-develop herbicide-tolerant rapeseed in China. The sulfonylurea (SU)-tolerant rapeseed will be produced in China to help meet the country’s growing demand for high-quality, non-biotech rapeseed oil. Cibus’s Rapid Trait Development System is the first non-biotech gene editing process to be applied to commercial crops; SU-tolerant canola is already being harvested in the United States.

The International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) named Dow AgroSciences and DuPont Pioneer as its first industry members. The organization, founded in 1924, introduced the category of “industry member” to engage the seed industry and further the association’s activities. Dow AgroSciences and DuPont Pioneer will also partake in the ISTA’s new Industry Advisory Group, which fosters industry collaboration and communication in the development of standardized seed-testing methods.

The Oklahoman reported that, despite a disastrous 2015 season for Oklahoma canola crops, growers and industry professionals remain optimistic about canola’s future in that state. Drought conditions, fewer acres planted and Northstar Agri Industries’s decision not to build a canola processing plant all contributed to the dismal season. However, “we still have all our options we had before talk of this mill,” said USCA President Jeff Scott, noting that he and about 500 canola producers in the association have been growing canola in Oklahoma without a mill since 2007.

Legumex Walker’s Pacific Coast Canola crushing plant defaulted on a $54.6 million loan, putting its operation in Warden, Wash., at risk. Winnipeg, Canada-based Legumex said that AgCountry Farm Credit Services has demanded Pacific Coast repay the loan, but the company cannot comply. If Pacific can’t refinance its debt, the canola plant will cease operation. The Western Producer noted the plant is in a state that doesn’t produce much canola, resulting in the need to import most of its seeds from Canada and North Dakota.

About the USCA

Mark your calendars! Now’s the time to register and make arrangements to attend the USCA Board of Directors’ meeting at Hotel Mazarin in New Orleans Nov. 9-11, 2015.

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For deeper discussions of key issues impacting the U.S. canola industry, visit the new USCA blog.