Quality of western Canadian flaxseed 2011

Summary

The Canadian Grain Commission’s 2011 Harvest Survey of Western Canadian Flaxseed shows an increase in oil and protein content, and a decrease in iodine value when compared to the 2010 Harvest survey as seen in tables 1 and 2.

Oil content for 2011 was 45.9% a 1.0% increase from 2010, and a 0.6% increase from the 10 year average. The protein content for 2011 was 21.9% a 0.8% increase from 2010 and a 1.2% decrease from the 10 year mean.

Environmental factors can play an important role in oil and protein content trends as well as fatty acid composition. For the 2010 growing season  due to excessive moisture in Saskatchewan, where majority of our samples came from, only 73% of seeding was complete in the first week of June, whereas this year (2011) 82% of the seeding was completed for the same period in June. (Saskatchewan Crop Report 11). Earlier seeding has been suggested to lead to an increase in oil content and seed size when compared to later seeding (Flax Council). Daily temperatures and soil saturation can also play a role in oil and protein content. Cooler temperatures tend to produce higher oil and lower proteins. However, excess soil moisture has been shown to hinder the plants ability to absorb necessary nutrients for its development and growth.

Quality parameters, 2011 and 2010

Table 1. Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western - Quality data for 2011 harvest survey
Quality parameter 2011 2010 2001-2010 Mean
1 Dry matter basis
2 N x 6.25; 8.5% moisture basis
Oil content1, % 45.9 44.9 45.3
Protein content2, % 21.9 21.1 23.1
Free fatty acids, % 0.20 0.20 0.24
Iodine value 192.5 194.6 191.1
Table 2. Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western - Fatty acid composition for 2011 harvest survey
Fatty acid1, % in oil 2011 2010 2001-2010 Mean
1 Percentage of total fatty acids in the oil including palmitic (C16:0), stearic (C18:0), oleic (C18:1), linoleic (C18:2), and linolenic (C18:3)
Palmitic acid (C16:0) 5.1 5.2 5.0
Stearic acid (C18:0) 3.4 3.2 3.4
Oleic acid (C18:1) 17.9 16.8 18.3
Linoleic acid (C18:2) 15.1 15.2 15.5
α-Linolenic acid (C18:3) 57.6 58.8 56.8