With the canola harvest nearly complete across Western Canada, the quality of what’s coming off the fields looks good, according to early samples received at the Canadian Grain Commission.
With about a quarter of the expected samples in to date, “the quality is very good,” said Daryl Beswitherick, the CGC’s program manager of quality assurance. Of the samples in so far, 472 have graded No. 1, 19 No. 2, and only two No. 3.
Average chlorophyll levels of the canola samples in Western Canada of only 11.4 per cent accounted for the high quality, he said, as samples can have a chlorophyll level of up to 25 per cent and still grade as No. 1. Green seed counts were below one per cent for the most part, he added.
Early samples provided a good indication of the crop as a whole, but Beswitherick said the total quality will likely end up near average, with lower grades expected out of Alberta.
The Manitoba canola harvest is nearly complete, while Saskatchewan is over three-quarters complete. Alberta, meanwhile, still has over half its crop in the fields.
The best-quality crops are generally harvested first, with later fields facing greater risks.
“You never know, canola is one of those crops that you can swath and let it set for a month and it doesn’t really hurt it,” said Beswitherick.
Oil content in the first samples was averaging 45.1 per cent for No. 1 canola, he said, which compares to an average of 43-44 per cent. However, he said, samples with oil content as low as 39 per cent were noted in some cases.
Hot, dry conditions during most of the growing season did hamper yields somewhat, Beswitherick said, “but overall, the weather didn’t hurt the quality of the canola at all.”
Once all the samples are in and tabulated, the CGC will release its canola quality report for the year in early to mid-November.