Quality of western Canadian flaxseed 2020

Quality data by province and western Canada

Tables 4 and 5 show detailed information on the quality of top grade western Canadian (CW) flaxseed harvested in 2020. The number of harvest samples collected from each province may not represent the actual production or grade distribution. However, there were sufficient samples to provide good quality information for each province and the samples received followed the historical provincial trends in production.

Oil and protein quantitative estimates of the value of the seed as a source of oil and of the resulting meal as a source of protein for animal feed. α-Linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid, which can play an important role in maintaining good health in humans and animals (www.flaxcouncil.ca). It is the main factor for the increased use of whole and ground flaxseed in cereals and baked goods. Flaxseed is also used in animal feeds, for example in chicken feed to produce high omega-3 eggs.

Iodine value is a measure of the overall unsaturation of oil and is calculated from the fatty acid composition. Oils with higher iodine values, i.e., with more unsaturation, polymerize more rapidly in the presence of air. In flaxseed, iodine value is directly related to the amount of α-linolenic acid present in the oil. α-Linolenic acid is one of the most important quality factors for industrial use as it is responsible for most of flaxseed oil’s drying properties.

Table 4 – Quality data for 2020 western Canadian flaxseed
Province/grade Number of samples Oil contentFootnote1, % Protein contentFootnote2, % Iodine value
Mean Min. Max. Mean Min. Max. Mean Min. Max.
No. 1 CW 268 45.6 41.7 49.4 23.0 18.5 27.2 189.0 173.5 201.6
Manitoba 39 46.1 41.7 48.3 22.9 19.7 25.5 191.9 182.8 196.3
Saskatchewan 198 45.5 41.8 49.4 23.1 18.5 27.2 188.2 173.5 201.1
Alberta 31 46.1 42.3 49.1 22.7 18.6 25.9 190.5 181.2 201.6
No. 2 CW 6 46.0 43.8 48.2 21.4 19.5 25.8 195.3 191.1 208.0
No. 3 CW 1 43.4 - - 22.4 - - 201.1 - -
Sample 1 45.6 - - 20.8 - - 194.1 - -
Table 5 – Fatty acid composition and free fatty acids content of 2020 Canadian flaxseed
Province/grade Number of samples Fatty acid compositionFootnote3, % Free fatty acids
C16:0 C18:0 C18:1 C18:2 C18:3
No. 1 CW 268 5.3 3.7 18.7 15.5 55.8 0.16
Manitoba 39 5.2 3.5 17.8 14.8 57.6 0.18
Saskatchewan 198 5.3 3.8 18.9 15.7 55.3 0.50
Alberta 31 5.1 3.7 18.1 15.5 56.5 0.18
No. 2 CW 6 4.8 3.6 16.2 14.8 59.5 0.39
No. 3 CW 1 5.4 3.2 12.9 14.5 63.0 0.38
Sample 1 5.1 3.6 17.7 13.0 59.7 0.14
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