Quality of western Canadian canola 2012

Fatty acid composition

The average level of erucic acid in the 2012 crop was 0.01%, which is identical to what was observed for the last two yeas (0.01%), and similar to the five-year average of 0.02% and below the ten-year average of 0.06%.  These low values are a direct result of the breeding efforts of the Canadian canola industry.

For Canola, No.1 Canada samples the mean α-linolenic acid (C18:3) was 9.6% slightly lower that the means observed in 2011 (9.9%) and the five-year average (9.8%). The α-linolenic acid mean in Saskatchewan (9.8%) was slightly higher that the one in Alberta (9.5%) and higher than the one in Manitoba (9.0%). The hot and dry conditions observed in Manitoba and most of Alberta were responsible for the slightly lower α-linolenic acid content observed in 2012. The level of unsatruration, for example α-linolenic acid, is affected by temperaure; high temperatures leading to lower levels of unsaturation (therefore lower α-linolenic acid) in the oil of canola seeds.

For Canola, No.1 Canada samples the mean oleic acid (C18:1) content of the 2012 crop was 62.5%, slightly higher than what was observed in 2011 (62.1%).  This was also slightly higher than the five-year mean (62.3%).  On average, oleic acid contents were slightly higher in Manitoba (62.8%) and Alberta (62.9%) than in Saskatchewan (62.0%).

In 2012, there was a similar average for linoleic acid (C18:2) when compared to 2011 (19.2 versus 19.1%).  The similarity in average results for oleic aicd, linoleic acid and a-linolenic acid resulted in a similar iodine value when compared to 2011 (113.3 in 2012 versus 113.6 in 2011).

The mean level of saturated fatty acids was 6.6% in 2012 (Table 1). The 2012 average was slightly lower than 2011 (6.8%) and 2010 (6.9%). As in 2011, in 2012 the mean saturated fatty acid levels were similar for the three provinces 6.6% (6.8, 6.8 and 6.7% for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, respectively in 2011). Total saturates fatty acid contents are usually affected by the temperature, high temperatures leading to higher oil saturation. It is usually expected that total saturated fatty acid content varied between the three provinces, the southern part of the prairies having significantly higher temperatures than the northern regions. However, for two years in row, temperatures and lack of moistures were comparable in the northern and southern parts of the prairies; this could explain the non difference between the three provinces. It also seemed that total saturated fatty acid contents were not susceptible to high temperatures as was the case the previous years.

For the first couples of months of the 2012-2013 shipping seasons, the a-linolenic acid averages (for clean and not commercially clean samples) ranged from 8.5 to 10.5%.  The averages varied from 9.7 to 9.8%.  This is lower than what was observed during last shipping season (10.1%).  When compared to last year’s average, the iodine value averages were lower this year (113.2 to 113.7 units) until November 2012 than what was observed last year (114.0 units).  The level of saturated fatty acids in the November 2012 canola exports remained very similar to the 2011-12 means (6.6-6.7% versus 6.8%).  As last year, it is expected that the levels of erucic acid will remain low for the new shipping season (below 0.1%) since erucic acid contents were very low in the 2012 harvest survey.

No important variations are expected for the fatty acid averages in the 2012-2013 shipping season.

Canola quality data by grade and province – fatty acid composition, total saturate content and iodine value of the oil
  Relative fatty acid composition of the oil (%) Total saturates3 (%) Iodine value4 (Units)
C18:0 C18:1 C18:2 C18:3 C22:1
Canola, No. 1 Canada
Manitoba 1.72 62.79 19.40 9.04 0.00 6.60 112.6
Saskatchewan 1.70 62.01 19.47 9.77 0.03 6.55 114.0
AlbertaFootnote 1 1.76 62.94 18.73 9.50 0.00 6.62 112.8
Western CanadaFootnote 2 1.73 62.50 19.17 9.55 0.01 6.58 113.0
Canola, No. 2 Canada
Manitoba 1.72 61.75 19.49 9.74 0.00 6.68 113.8
Saskatchewan 1.70 61.34 19.75 9.89 0.00 6.70 114.3
AlbertaFootnote 1 1.70 61.61 19.48 9.98 0.00 6.64 114.2
Western CanadaFootnote 2 1.70 61.47 19.63 9.90 0.00 6.68 114.2
Canola, No. 3 Canada
Western CanadaFootnote 2 1.70 60.76 20.03 10.14 0.00 6.84 114.9
Canola, Sample Canada
Western CanadaFootnote 2 1.69 61.35 20.21 9.47 0.04 6.63 114.0
Figure 11 – Canola, No. 1 Canada - Erucic acid content of harvest survey samples, 2002–2012
Erucic acid content of Canola no 1, 2002-2012-Graph described above.
Figure 12 – Canola, No. 1 Canada - α-linolenic acid content of harvest survey samples, 2002–2012
α-linolenic acid content of Canola no 1, 2002-2012-Graph described above.
Figure 13 – Canola, No. 1 Canada - Oleic acid content of harvest survey samples, 2002–2012
Oleic acid content of Canola no 1, 2002-2012-Graph described above.
Figure 14 – Canola, No. 1 Canada - Iodine value of harvest survey samples, 2002–2012
Iodine value of Canola no 1, 2002-2012-Graph described above.
Figure 15 – Canola, No. 1 Canada - Total Saturated fatty acid of harvest survey samples, 2002–2012
Total Saturated fatty acid of Canola no 1, 2002-2012-Graph described above.


Footnote 1

Includes part of the Peace River area that is in British Columbia.

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Footnote 2

Values are weighted averages based on production by province as estimated by Statistics Canada.

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Footnote 3

Total saturated fatty acids are the sum of palmitic (C16:0), stearic (C18:0), arachidic (C20:0), behenic (C22:0), and lignoceric (C24:0).

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Footnote 4

Calculated from fatty acid composition.

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