Newfoundland harvests first canola crop

Harvest of Newfoundland’s first-ever canola crop, a 30-acre field at Pasadena, N.L. was underway Friday. (Gov.NL.ca)

Researchers in Newfoundland are set to test the oil and meal quality of the province’s first-ever canola crop after its harvest on Friday.

The 30-acre research plot at Pasadena, N.L., about 30 km east of Corner Brook, “grew exceptionally well, surpassing our researcher’s expectations,” Steve Crocker, the province’s minister of fisheries, forestry and agrifoods, said in a release.

“All indications pointed to a high yield and high-quality harvest and I am excited to see that happening today,” he said of the crop, a test project for the province’s Pynn’s Brook research station.

Provincial research specialist Vanessa Kavanagh, who oversaw the seeding in May and harvest Friday, said the test acres were seeded to an InVigor variety, L140P, with L135C as a comparison.

On Twitter Saturday, she wrote that while the harvest was still being finished, the field’s yield so far looked to be around three-quarters of a tonne per acre, or roughly 33 bu./ac. — “right where we thought we would be.”

By comparison, Statistics Canada last month predicted average yields in the canola-growing Prairie provinces this year will run around 38 bu./ac.

The province described its canola research as an extension of its livestock feeds research, to see if canola can reach maturity in the western region. Canola meal from the crop will be assessed at Pure Holsteins Ltd., a dairy operation and Holstein breeding farm at nearby Steady Brook.

Canola oil from the crop will be assessed at “various local restaurants throughout the province,” the government said in its release.

The research, the government said, “will also assess and help develop harvest and pressing procedures, establish growing practices and determine oil and meal quality potential.”

InVigor L140P is billed as suitable for all growing zones in Canada, while L135C is billed as suitable for growing zones in Quebec that have “confirmed clubroot presence.”

Newfoundland and Labrador is the last of Canada’s 10 provinces to seed and harvest a canola crop. Atlantic Canada’s other provinces have previously put in a few thousand acres, the Newfoundland government said previously.

Developing the province’s agriculture industry, Crocker said, will help to “facilitate food security by advising producers on crop and livestock systems in order to maximize production in a sustainable manner.”

“We have seen tremendous results in growing winter wheat and today we are seeing promising results with canola,” Premier Dwight Ball said in the same release. “If our research proves successful, canola could become one of our most important crops.” — AGCanada.com Network

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