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What to consider when marketing green seed canola

Harvested canola samples in 2018 contained variable levels of green seed. Neil Blue, provincial crop market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, looks at what producers should consider when marketing their crop.


January 9, 2019
By Alberta Agriculture

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The starting point for producers to deal with green seeds is to know what they have. Explains Blue, “What is the grade, dockage, moisture of representative samples, using different graders and perhaps including the Canadian Grain Commission.”

He notes that canola producers should be aware of the grading rules. According to the Official Grain Grading Guide from the Canadian Grain Commission, No. 1 canola may have up to two per cent distinctly green seeds and a maximum of five per cent damaged seeds including the distinctly greens. No. 2 canola may have up to six per cent distinctly green seeds and maximum 12 per cent damaged seeds including the distinctly greens. The No. 3 canola limit is 20 per cent distinctly green and 25 per cent total damaged seeds. Canola with higher levels than that will grade sample.

Blue says to clarify the term ‘distinctly green,’ the Canola Watch article Grading for Green points out that, “two limes don’t make a green.”

Blue says that particularly in the northern half of Alberta, harvested canola samples showed widespread but highly variable levels of distinctly green seeds.

“Some farmers have reported that there has been a reduction in the green seed count during storage and others have said that it has not changed since harvest,” he says. “The next step after knowing your product is to shop around as some buyers are accepting higher levels of green seed than others, and at different discounts. Also, some buyers may be able to do paper blending – mixing as a paper calculation the higher green count and lower green count canola to achieve a better overall grade and price.”

Producers need to be aware of the risks when storing green seed canola, as Blue says there have already been a number of cases of canola spoiling in the bin even if technically dry.

“Some of those spoilage cases have been attributed to the high green seed count. Spoilage can occur quickly and lower the value to sample canola, so producers need to regularly monitor the temperature and condition of stored canola. Many farmers also move it around to reduce the spoilage risk.”

If some canola spoilage has occurred, Blue says to first be sure to stop the spoilage. “Then, know what you have and shop around for the best market. Line elevator companies and crushers may not want low grade or out of condition canola. However, some targeted sales of high green count canola have been arranged by grain companies and some off-grade buyers specialize in such products. Also, many cash grain brokers have done a good job of finding a place for that canola to go.”

For more information or to request a list of crop buyers, contact Neil Blue at 780-422-4053 or neil.blue@gov.ab.ca.