Peak harvest time for canola has come and gone, and according to the Canadian Grain Commission, growers delivered a “big” 554,000 metric tonnes of canola into primary elevators during the seventh week of the crop year. However, exports remain low at 27,000 metric tonnes, and disappearance is also higher than the year-to-date average at 1.8 million metric tonnes compared to 1.3 million last year. That’s a 39 per cent increase, which is better than the nearly 70 per cent increase seen earlier in the season.
Despite what was a hot, dry growing season, the harvest has been “better than expected” so far. Nevertheless, final yield numbers are anticipated to be lower than previous estimates, and exports need to increase to get Canada’s canola to market.
Canola is one of the most important crops in Western Canada. Saskatchewan produces 52 per cent of the country’s supply, Alberta 31 per cent, and Manitoba 16 per cent. Canada exported $6.9 billion worth of canola to the U.S. in 2022, $3.5 billion to China and $1.6 billion to Mexico. The total value of canola exports was $14.4 billion.
I mention all of this because the Canola Council of Canada has set some lofty goals when it comes to canola production with its “Keep it Coming 2025” campaign. The initiative aims to increase growth, demand, stability and the overall success of the canola industry by setting targets and a strategy to reach them.
Some of the campaign’s targets include increasing canola production to 26 million metric tonnes by 2025 (up from the 2011/12 average of 14.2 million metric tonnes), increasing yield to 52 bu/acre from the 2011/12 average of 31.2 bu/acre, and seed exports to reach 12 million metric tonnes, which in 2022 was less than half that number at 5.7 million metric tonnes.
These goals are tied to the Canola Council of Canada’s goal of creating more jobs in the industry and a more sustainable farm economy, as well as providing healthier food for the world.
Not only is canola needed and used around the world as a food source, but it’s also a biofuel, which helps achieve sustainability goals and addresses environmental awareness issues.
As noted by the Canola Council of Canada, reaching the goals of the “Keep it Coming 2025” campaign means following the advice of agronomists and the most up-to-date science that helps growers achieve the best yields possible. Whether it be best practices to improve soil health, disease and pest management or dealing with ever-changing weather conditions – canola prefers cool to mild temperatures with adequate moisture – growers have challenges in front of them, but they are not fighting those battles alone.
Achieving these goals is certainly doable, and working together will be the key to the campaign’s success.