Improvements in sustainable canola production in Western Canada
By News release
Dec. 2, 2014 - BASF Canada and the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) have released a study completed using the BASF proprietary tool AgBalance; the study shows substantial improvements over the last 20 years in the sustainability of canola production in Western Canada.
The study results were presented last week at the first roundtable meeting of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC), a forum for leaders from all corners of the grains value chain to advance, to report and to communicate the sustainability of Canadian grain production.
AgBalance, a holistic method for assessing sustainability in agriculture and identifying key drivers for improvement, uses up to 200 metrics to evaluate a set of 69 indicators to calculate the environmental, economic and societal impact of various farming practices. Indicators range from soil management to land use to fixed costs and profitability. The results help identify the sustainability performance of a crop production system.
In this case study, the sustainability performance of the average production system of 1990 in the three western provinces (Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan) was compared with the 2010 production. The case study revealed an improvement over the 20-year period in all three dimensions of sustainability: environmental (73 per cent), economic (61 per cent) and society (49 per cent). The trend towards greater intensification of agricultural production and demand for responsibly produced crops has resulted in a new focus on sustainability in the agriculture sector. By adopting innovations and technologies such as herbicide tolerance, a shift from open pollinated cultivars to high yielding hybrids, and conservation tillage, canola production has become significantly more sustainable over the last two decades.
"The results of this AgBalance-study are important to the industry since they quantify the positive direction of crop production in Canada," said Jeff Bertholet, Technical Development Manager of BASF Canada. "The industry has seen an interest from consumers about how crops used for food production are grown, and to know that those crops are produced in a sustainable way. AgBalance provides a measurement tool for this discussion as well as for further decision making processes."
"Sustainability is a core value of the CCC and an integral part of our research priorities and recommendations to growers," said Patti Miller, President of the Canola Council of Canada. "This study reinforces the benefit that new technology and innovation are bringing to the environment and profitability for the grower. Sustainability of canola production has improved substantially over the last two decades."