Quality of western Canadian flaxseed 2014

Fatty acid composition

Average alpha-linolenic acid (C18:3) content (57.9%) in Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western is higher than the average in 2013 (56.0%) and the 10-year mean (57.0%) (Figure 5). Values in samples of Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western from producers across western Canada ranged from 49.6% to 65.6%.

The average iodine value of the oil from Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western samples is 192.9 units. Iodine value is a measure of the total degree of unsaturation of the oil and, in flaxseed, is heavily influenced by the linolenic acid content of the oil. The 2014 iodine value is 3.2 units higher than in 2013 and 1.4 units higher than the 10-year mean of 191.5 units (Figure 6). Iodine values for Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western samples from producers across western Canada varied from 180 to 208 units.

Usually oils with iodine values greater than 188 units are desired by the coatings industry for products such as paints, varnishes and inks, while oils with iodine values around 183 units are preferred by the linoleum industry. Iodine value, like oil content, is influenced by growing temperatures and length of photoperiod.

Figure 5. Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western – Percent α-Linolenic acid content of harvest samples, 2004–2014

Graph of α-linolenic acid content (%) in oil for flaxseed, 2004-14. Details below.

Details
  • 2014 average: 57.9%
  • 2013 average: 56.0%
  • 2004–2013 mean: 57.0%

The table below displays the percentage α-linolenic acid content from 2004 to 2014, which is illustrated in the graph.

Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western - Percent α-linolenic acid content of harvest survey samples, 2004–2014
Crop year α-linolenic acid content, %
2004 61.6
2005 57.6
2006 55.7
2007 52.1
2008 56.2
2009 58.0
2010 58.8
2011 57.6
2012 56.8
2013 50.0
2014 57.9

Figure 6. Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western – Iodine value of harvest samples, 2004–2014

Graph of iodine value (units) for flaxseed, 2003-13. Details below.

Details
  • 2014 average: 192.9%
  • 2013 average: 189.7%
  • 2004–2013 mean: 191.5%

The table below displays iodine values in units from 2004 to 2014, which is illustrated in the graph.

Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western - Iodine value of harvest survey samples, 2004–2014
Crop year Iodine value, Units
2004 199.0
2005 193.4
2006 189.6
2007 182.3
2008 189.5
2009 193.4
2010 194.6
2011 192.5
2012 190.7
2013 189.9
2014 192.9