Canola Quick Bytes
A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest
Representatives from national agricultural organizations met Aug. 15 in Washington, D.C. with officials of the Donald Trump presidential campaign. This follows a similar meeting with representatives of the Hillary Clinton campaign in Brooklyn, N.Y., June 24. The purpose of these meetings was to establish a dialogue on ag policy matters during the 2016 campaign and beyond. The Trump campaign recently unveiled an agricultural advisory team with over 60 members, while the Clinton campaign released a policy paper a year ago for achieving a vibrant rural America. Ag groups highlighted trade, food safety, the farm bill and crop insurance programs, ag labor, infrastructure and the importance of science-based regulations. Both campaigns agree on the need to improve infrastructure.
The Farm Service Agency released projected Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payment rates for the 2015 crop year, including a rate for canola of $0.0445 per pound, representing the difference between canola’s $0.2014 reference price and its projected marketing year average price of $0.1570. Producers who enrolled their canola base acres into the PLC program will receive a payment calculated as follows: (payment rate * payment yield * 85% of canola base acres). Per this projection, a producer with a 1,500-pound payment yield will receive $56.73 per base acre after the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. Producers enrolled 1.4 million base acres of canola — over 97 percent of the total eligible acres — in the PLC program.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton issued an executive order restricting use of neonicotinoid insecticides to try to reverse the decline of pollinators in the state. The order says state regulators should require verification that neonicotinoids are necessary. It also creates a new task force to study issues impacting pollinators and to recommend long-term solutions. The order is focused on foliar applications and not seed treatment as the state legislature would need to pass legislation to give the Minnesota Department of Agriculture authority to regulate treated seed.
Though about 10 to 15 diseases can affect canola, there are five that pose the greatest risks to the plant. Crop pathologist Ron Howard suggests scouting and examining canola closely to look for blackleg, sclerotinia, root rot, clubroot, and seedling blight and stem decay — what he calls the “Big 5” in The Western Producer.
The relationship between canola and honey bees is increasingly seen as symbiotic, evidenced by the fact that the Canadian prairies are big producers of both canola and honey. After all, bees can increase canola yields thanks to pollination, while canola provides nearly complete nutrition for the bees. That’s why close communication between canola growers and beekeepers is important. “We really do have an interest in working with each other for mutual profitability and sustainability,” Gregory Sekulic from the Canada Council of Canola told the Meridian Booster.
Memory loss and dementia affect an alarmingly high number of Americans each year. In fact, more than 5 million suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. But as reported in U.S. News and World Report, studies suggest there are lifestyle choices that can help lower your risk for cognitive decline. One of those brain-boosting strategies, according to research from the Chicago Health and Aging Project, is to limit intake of saturated fats in favor of healthier fats, including plant-based oils like canola. In fact, canola oil has the least saturated fat of any cooking oil, being high in healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats instead.
Summer is not officially over, so there’s still time to take advantage of fresh summer veggies — like zucchini, yellow squash, red bell peppers and red cabbage — and chop up a healthy slaw for a Labor Day soirée or a quick weekday dinner side. Toss in a homemade Italian herb dressing made with healthy canola oil and enjoy!
Other Country News
Although The Western Producer reported last month that one Canadian grain company had agreed to meet China’s 1 percent dockage limit in canola shipments, the new rule will not yet go into effect. The day before the new policy was to be enacted, China agreed to delay the standard that would lower the current maximum standard from 2.5 percent dockage to 1 percent per shipment. China — which accounts for about 40 percent or $2 billion worth of Canada’s yearly canola seed exports — has said the rule is necessary in order to reduce the threat of blackleg entering the country via shipments. But Canadian officials have countered that the standard is too restrictive. The issue has been at the forefront of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to China and will continue to be discussed as representatives from both countries work together to develop a longer-term solution to the trade dispute.
After about another year of upgrades with a $120 million investment, a canola processing plant in Lethbridge, Alberta will be able to process 700,000 metric tons of canola annually. The Richardson International Ltd. facility currently crushes approximately 450,000 metric tons each year. But that will change by this time next year after the major facelift modernizes the Canadian plant that is installing new processing equipment and constructing a new high-efficiency seed-receiving facility.
Latest Industry News
A U.S. security regulator cleared government-owned China National Chemical Corp., known as ChemChina, for its planned $43 billion acquisition of Swiss seed company Syngenta AG, removing one of the deal’s biggest potential hurdles. The takeover could still be blocked by regulators in the European Union, but if it goes through, it will be China’s largest overseas acquisition, reported The Wall Street Journal. It would also be a big deal for China to gain access to Syngenta’s intellectual property, helping the country to feed a growing population and modernize its agriculture.
In other deal-related news, Cargill has agreed to sell two oilseed processing plants and businesses to Bunge Limited. Under terms of the agreement, Bunge would purchase a soybean and rapeseed crush facility in the Netherlands and one in France, among certain other assets. The transaction is considered highly complementary for Bunge as it seeks to expand its global oilseed footprint in Europe, though it remains subject to customary closing conditions like competition clearance and employee consultation.
Meanwhile, Cargill unveiled renovations at its canola research facility in Aberdeen, Sask., last week. The facility, which received $3.5 million in improvements and 14,000 square feet of additional space, now includes a larger pathology lab, a new quality assurance lab, a ventilated seed prep room, improved lighting and UV repelling windows. The changes spell an opportunity for Cargill researchers to develop canola strains that could be resistant to diseases, including blackleg and clubroot.
There’s a new way to test canola samples for green seed and it’s more efficient than the traditional method of counting, crushing and calculating seeds by hand. It’s so much less troublesome than the usual process that the machine used for it received the gold prize for innovation at this year’s Canada’s Farm Progress Show. The award-winning Devloo Canola Crusher, developed by farmer Gerry Devloo, can count out 250 seeds in just four crank rotations. It retails for $800.
About the USCA
Check out this month’s U.S. Canola Association (USCA) blog on low-level presence of biotech crops by John McMurdy, director of emerging market and development partnerships at CropLife International and coordinator of the Global Alliance for Ag Biotech Trade. Since biotech crops have been introduced, he notes, all stakeholders have benefitted from increases in productivity, but regulatory systems with zero tolerance for biotech crops have impeded trade. Yet that may be shifting soon as Canada is expected to release a policy on low-level presence (for a biotech crop approved in the country of export and not import) and as 16 countries continue to discuss solutions to reduce the impact of LLP on international trade.
Read last month’s USCA blog about what’s happening in Willamette Valley, Ore. Limited canola plantings have proven their worth with fields averaging 3,000 pounds per acre! Although the Oregon Department of Agriculture will continue to limit canola to 500 acres for three additional years, those acres will no longer be under the review of Oregon State University. Regional grower interest in canola continues to increase. As a result, the Willamette Valley Oil Seed Producers Association is working to form a Pacific Northwest Canola Association, which would have representation with the USCA.
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