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What to do with green canola

What to do with green canola

Provincial crop market analyst provides tips on how to manage your canola crop

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer

Many Alberta producers have reported green seeds in their canola samples, so Neil Blue with the province’s ministry of ag and forestry recently gave farmers more information on how to deal with this situation.

“Particularly in the northern half of Alberta, there is a wide spread but highly variable level of distinctly green seeds in harvested canola samples,” Blue said in a Call of the Land interview yesterday.

“The counts should only include distinctly green seeds in a crushed sample.”

When elevator staff test a canola sample, they will assign a grade to it based on the amount of distinctly green and damaged seeds. Each grade has a threshold.

“No. 1 canola may have up to 2 per cent distinctly green seeds and a maximum of 5 per cent damaged seeds, including the distinctly greens. No. 2 canola can have up to 6 per cent distinctly green seeds and a maximum of 12 per cent damaged seeds, including the distinctly greens,” Blue said.

“The No. 3 canola limit is 20 per cent distinctly greens seeds and 25 per cent total damaged seeds. Canola with higher levels than that will grade sample.”

Producers should monitor their canola crops in storage, as green seed presents a higher risk for spoilage.

“There have already been a number of cases of canola spoiling in the bin even if (it is) technically dry. Some of those causes have been attributed to the high green seed count,” Blue said.

“Spoilage can occur quickly and lower the value to sample canola. So, producers need to regularly monitor the condition of the stored canola and many farmers also move it around to reduce that storage risk.”

Canola growers who have high green seed counts have a couple options when marketing their crops.

“The starting point is to know what you have. That is, what is the grade, dockage, moisture and temperature of representative samples?” Blue asked.

Farmers can use different graders, such as the Canadian Grains Commission, for example, to determine their crops’ values.

“The next step is to shop around. Some buyers are accepting higher levels of green seed than others,” Blue said.

“Also, buyers may be able to do some paper blending.” This process is involves employees mixing higher green count and lower green count canola based on a paper calculation “to achieve a better overall grade and price.”

In addition, “off-grade buyers specialize in such products and cash grain brokers have done a good job of finding a place for that canola to go,” Blue said.

Growers can refer to the Alberta Canola Producers Commission website for information on agronomy, marketing and crop management.

Producers can also direct any questions to Blue at 780-422-4053.  

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