Quality of western Canadian canola 2011

Protein content

The 2011 crude protein content mean was 19.6% for Canola, No. 1 Canada samples, 20.0 and 20.3% for Canola, No. 2 Canada, and Canola, No. 3 Canada samples. The average protein content for Canola, No. 1 Canada was lower in 2011 (19.6%) than in 2010 (20.1%) and much lower than the five- and ten-year averages, 20.7 and 21.4%, respectively. Protein content averages were 20.6, 19.4 and 19.6% in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, respectively with protein content of individual producer samples ranging from 13.7 to 25.9% for Canola, No. 1 Canada samples and from 15.5 to 24.2% for Canola, No. 2 Canada samples.

The 2011 protein content calculated to an oil-free meal at 8.5% moisture basis was 38.8% slightly lower than the 39.0% seen in 2010 and well below 40.0 and 40.9% calculated for the five- and ten-year averages, respectively. The calculated protein content of the oil-free meal (100% defatted) was much higher in Manitoba (39.7%) than in Alberta (38.9%) or Saskatchewan (38.5%).

In canola, it is known that oil and protein contents follow an inverese relationship – the higher the oil and the lower the protein content. Since higher oil contents were observed in 2011 compared to 2010, lower protein contents were expected in the 2011 canola harvest when compared to the 2010 averages.

Quality parameters, such as oil and protein contents, are affected by genetic and environment. Agronomic conditions, such as soil state, can affect seed quality parameters. It is known that nitrogen levels can affect canola and other grains protein content. It has been shown that canola protein content is affected by soil nitrogen level; higher nitrogen levels can lead to higher protein and glucosinolate contents and therefore lower oil contents. Similarly, high sulfur levels in soil, due to fertilizer, are known to increase the glucosinolate and the protein contents of canola seeds.

The excessive rains and the standing moisture observed during the 2011 growing season might have affected the soil nitrogen. Nitrogen levels were likely diluted in the soil reducing the plant access to available nitrogen. At the same time, the excess moisture occurred at the early stage of plant development. The canola plants did not develop an important deep root system leading to a limited access to the nutrients, especially nitrogen, that were diluted in the soil. It is likely that both the low nitrogen content of the soil and the less developed root system led to low available nitrogen levels for the plant to synthesize proteins leading to low protein contents and therefore higher oil contents.

The mean oil protein of Canola, No. 1 Canada commercially clean exports were 19.6 and 19.7% in December 2011 and Aug-to-Nov. 2011, respectively (Table 6). The protein content averages for the actual shipping season were lower than what was observed for last shipping season (19.6% and 19.7% versus 20.2%). These means reflect the lower protein content average observed in the 2011 harvest when compared to the 2010 harvest.

The average calculated protein content of the meal was 38.8% for the December commercially clean exports of Canola, No. 1 Canada, this result is similar to what was observed last year.

It is expected that the protein content of the Canadian exports will remain in the 19.5-20.0% range for most of the 2011-12 shipping season.

Protein content of 2011 harvest survey samples, by grade and province
  Number of samples Protein content¹ (%)
mean minimum maximum
¹ N x 6.25; 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 20.6 15.7 24.5
Saskatchewan 721 19.4 13.7 24.5
Alberta² 399 19.6 15.2 25.9
Western Canada³ 1492 19.6 13.7 25.9
Canola, No. 2 Canada
Manitoba 37 21.2 19.0 24.2
Saskatchewan 68 19.6 15.5 23.4
Alberta² 62 20.0 17.0 22.7
Western Canada³ 167 20.0 15.5 24.2
Canola, No. 3 Canada
Western Canada³ 65 20.3 17.2 23.7
Canola, Sample Canada
Western Canada³ 31 19.5 15.6 24.2