Quality of western Canadian canola 2011

Chlorophyll content

Chlorophyll content averages of producer samples graded Canola, No. 1 Canada were 13.4, 15.8 and 17.2 mg/kg in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, respectively. The overall average for Canola, No. 1 Canada was 15.9 mg/kg, much higher that the 12.6 mg/kg observed 2010. Individual producer samples of Canola, No. 1 Canada from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta had chlorophyll levels ranging from 4.0 to 37.2 mg/kg, 4.0 to 40.1 mg/kg and 4.0 to 66.3 mg/kg, respectively. The mean chlorophyll content of each western province varied greatly, as last year, due to environmental conditions. Once again, location had an important effect on chlorophyll levels in samples. The cool and wet growing conditions observed in June and July, in northern Alberta and north-western Saskatchewan delayed seed developement. Daytime temperatures were higher than normal for early and late September but the first frost was reported mid-September (2nd week of September) when only about 40% of the grains were harvested. The seed moisture and the stage of the seed development/maturity affect the severity of the damage due to frost. These frosts can "lock" high levels of chlorophyll in not fully mature seeds leading to the green seeds with significantly higher chlorophyll contents. It is likely grains from north western Saskatchewan and northern Alberta were more affected by the frost than grains from other areas since grain maturity was delayed in these areas. This agreed with the Canola, No. 1 Canada distribution in the prairies, these areas having the lowest percent of Canola, No. 1 Canada compare to other regions.)

It has been reported that canola samples containing frost-damage chlorophyll derivatives might be more difficult to process than samples containing sound immature seeds. The frost damaged samples usually have higher chlorophyll levels than samples of sound seeds – even when immature seeds are present. Moreover, in these frost damaged samples chlorophyll derivatives other than chlorophyll a and b are present, these chlorophyll derivatives are more difficult to remove during processing than the normal chlorophylls a and b present in sound immature seeds. Chlorophyll levels for Canola, No. 2 Canada samples averaged 37.0 mg/kg similar to the 2010 chlorophyll content (33.7 mg/kg) but much higher than what was observed in 2009 (27.9 mg/kg. Samples graded Canola, No. 3 Canada showed an average chlorophyll content of 72.3 mg/kg, also higher than the 2010 average (64.2 mg/kg).

To get the grade Canola, No. 1 Canada, the canola samples must contain no more than 2% distinctly green seeds. Distinctly green seed (DGR) averages were 0.67, 0.57 0.59% in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta for Canola, No. 1 Canada samples. The chlorophyll content of Canadian canola exports is affected by the distinctly green seed counts (DGR) - between 0.0 and 2.0 for Canola, No. 1 Canada – and the dockage content - no more than 2.5% for commercially clean exports. The dockage averages were 1.77 and 1.79% for commercially clean December 2011 and commercially clean August to November 2011 exports (2.84 and 3.18% for the not commercially clean exports for the same preriods. Since August 1st, 2011, the DGR contents for the individual cargoes of Canola, No. 1 Canada ranged 0.8 to 2.0%. Up to now, the DGR averaged 1.41 to 1.85% for the Canola, No. 1 Canada exports. Chlorophyll content averages of the the Canola, No. 1 Canada exports ranged from 21.9 to 28.5 mg/kg, with the commcercially clean exports having a statistically lower chlorophyll content that the not commercially clean exports . These chlorophyll contents are higher than the 2011 chlorophyll content average because the DGR averages are higher in the exports than in the harvest survey samples.

It is likely that the chlorophyll content of the Canola, No. 1 Canada shipments for 2011-2012 be similar to slightly lower than the chlorophyll content of the Canola, No. 1 Canada shipments for 2010-2011.

Chlorophyll content of 2011 harvest survey samples, by grade and province
  Number of samples Chlorophyll content (mg/kg)
mean minimum maximum
¹ Includes part of the Peace River area that is in British Columbia.
² Values are weighted averages based on production by province as estimated by Statistics Canada.
Canola, No. 1 Canada
Manitoba 375 13.4 4.0 37.2
Saskatchewan 721 15.8 4.0 44.3
Alberta1 396 17.2 4.0 66.3
Western Canada² 1492 15.9 4.0 66.3
Canola, No. 2 Canada
Manitoba 37 25.6 6.1 63.0
Saskatchewan 68 35.3 5.5 71.7
Alberta1 62 39.9 9.9 74.1
Western Canada² 167 37.0 5.5 74.1
Canola, No. 3 Canada
Western Canada² 65 72.3 8.5 140.9
Canola, Sample Canada
Western Canada² 31 73.7 6.5 158.2