Quality of western Canadian canola 2011

Oil content

For Canola, No. 1 Canada, the 2011 mean oil content (45.2%) was much higher than the mean oil content observed in 2010 (44.3%) and 2009 (44.5%). This is well above (1.0% higher) the five-year (2006-2010) mean of 44.2%. The oil content mean in Manitoba (43.9%) was lower than in Saskatchewan (45.4%) and Alberta (45.6%). Even if the overall oil content average was higher in the 2011 harvest than in 2010 harvest, the oil content ranges were very similar (Figure 4). For 2011 Canola, No. 1 Canada, the oil contents of individual producer samples ranged from 39.6 to 49.5% in Manitoba (37.2% to 47.8% in 2010), 39.9 to 50.8% in Saskatchewan (39.2 to 50.3% in 2010) and 38.5 to 51.7% in Alberta (38.7% to 50.6% in 2010).

The oil content for Canola, No. 2 Canada (44.9%) was lower than to Canola, No. 1 Canada, (45.2%); the oil content for Canola, No. 2 Canada samples from western Canada ranged from 39.7% to 50.4%.

Oil content is influenced by both genetics and environment. For any known canola variety cool growing conditions will give higher oil content when compared to hot growing conditions. The summer of 2011 was warm and dry (starting in June) in some parts of the Prairies (Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan) and cool and humid in the northwest part of Saskatchewan and the north and central Alberta plus the Peace River region in June and July. The 2011 oil content distribution pattern (province variations) agreed with the weather patterns/conditions observed during the growing season – higher oil in cooler conditions (Alberta) and lower oil in warmer conditions (Manitoba).

In Manitoba, monthly mean temperatures for June, July and September were 1 to 2°C higher than normal in 2011 versus 1 to 2°C lower than normal in 2010. Manitoba oil content average in 2011 was 44.2% versus 43.2% in 2010, if day temperature is the only applied environmental theory to compare the results, then 2010 oil content average should be higher than 2011 oil content average, especially in Manitoba, which is not the case. It is also unlikely that genetics alone was responsible for the sharp increase in oil content observed in 2011 when compared to 2010 data since the main varieties grown in 2010 were still grown in 2011. Manitoba nights were cool in 2011 with temperatures as low as 9 to 10°C in some areas from July to September. It has been suggested that minimum temperatures could also play an important effect on oil content. It is likely that environmental factors other than temperature were responsible for the 2011 oil increase.

The mean oil content of canola exports was 45.2% in December 2011 it averaged 44.2% in the August-Novmeber exports for commercially clean Canola, No. 1 Canada. The oil content averages were lower in not commercially clean exports (43.5 and 43.7%). The oil content means for the actual shipping season were much higher than what was observed for last shipping season (45.2% and 44.4% versus 43.6%). These export means reflect the high oil content observed in the 2011 harvest.

It is expected that the mean oil content of the Canadian export will remain in the 44.0% range for most of the 2011-12 shipping season.

Oil content of 2011 harvest survey samples, by grade and province
  Number of samples Oil content¹ (%)
mean minimum maximum
¹ 8.5% moisture basis.
² Includes part of the Peace River area that is in British Columbia.
³ Values are weighted averages based on production by province as estimated by Statistics Canada.
Canola, No. 1 Canada
Manitoba 375 44.2 39.6 49.5
Saskatchewan 721 45.4 39.9 51.0
Alberta2 396 45.6 38.5 51.7
Western Canada³ 1492 45.2 38.5 51.7
Canola, No. 2 Canada
Manitoba 37 42.7 40.2 46.1
Saskatchewan 68 45.2 39.7 50.4
Albert² 62 45.0 41.7 48.9
Western Canada³ 167 44.9 39.7 50.4
Canola, No. 3 Canada
Western Canada³ 65 44.7 39.9 49.0
Canola, Sample Canada
Western Canada³ 31 43.2 32.6 48.5