Quality of western Canadian canola 2011

Free fatty acids content

The average free fatty acid content (FFA) of the oil for the 2011 canola was lower at 0.12% when compared to 0.16% and 0.15% observed in 2010 and 2009, respectively. This level is lower than the long-term mean of 0.20%.

The presence of FFA in oil suggests that the seeds have been stressed or are not sound. Seed sprouting at harvest and bin heating are usually the main cause of high FFA – sometimes higher than 1.0%. We noticed that FFA in canola can be high if temperatures were high during the growing season – field heat stress. Average FFA levels in Canola, No. 1 Canada samples from Manitoba (0.29%) were higher than in Saskatchewan (0.09%) and Alberta (0.08%). Manitoba day temperatures from June to October were in average 1 to 3°C higher than nomal (with low moisture), whereas northern part of Alberta and northwestern Saskatchewan temperatures were close to normal. June to September, hot and dry conditions were responsible for the higher FFA in 2011 when compared to 2010 in Manitoba. FFA levels may change after harvest during storage if seeds are subjected to improper storage conditions.

In December, the average FFA level for commercially clean Canola, No. 1 Canada exports was 0.25% (0.26% for the August to November exports). These averages were higher for the not commercially clean exports (0.39 and 0.40%). Last year's average was 0.38%.

Canola quality data by grade and province – free fatty acids content
  Number of samples Free fatty acids content (%)
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 0.29
Saskatchewan 721 0.09
Alberta¹ 396 0.08
Western Canada² 1492 0.12
Canola, No. 2 Canada
Manitoba 37 0.97
Saskatchewan 68 0.13
Alberta¹ 62 0.12
Western Canada² 167 0.20
Canola, No. 3 Canada
Western Canada² 65 0.45
Canola, Sample Canada
Western Canada² 31 0.35