The federal government’s new $12.1 million investment in canola research will play a key role in growing the economic and environmental benefits of Canada’s number one crop, says Canola Council of Canada president Jim Everson.
“The knowledge gained through this research will contribute to our industry’s strategic plan of 26 million metric tonnes of sustained supply and demand by the year 2025, supported by average yields of 52 bushels/acre. This, in turn, will increase canola’s value to the Canadian economy,” said Everson, speaking at a news conference where Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced the new Canola Agri-Science Cluster funding under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
“Just as importantly, we’ll learn more about how we can maximize canola’s positive impact on climate change mitigation,” said Everson.
Over the past decade, canola has become the most profitable crop for Western Canadian farmers and a major driver of the Canadian economy. In 2016, an economic impact report found the canola value chain generates $26.7 billion worth of jobs, spending and spin-off benefits for Canadians.
Twenty-five projects will be carried out in collaboration with public research institutions across Canada, with in-kind contributions from the Canola Council and its member organizations. When federal funding is combined with contributions from Alberta Canola, SaskCanola, the Manitoba Canola Growers and industry, the total investment in research and innovation will be more than $20 million over five years.
“Research is critical to innovation and that’s why Alberta Canola, SaskCanola and the Manitoba Canola Growers are investing just above $4 million over five years in the Canola Agri-Science Cluster,” said Bernie McClean, a canola grower from Glaslyn, Saskatchewan and chair of SaskCanola’s research committee. “This research will increase yields, reduce production risks, maintain public trust, further enhance sustainability and confront the challenges of a changing climate.”
The projects will involve every part of the canola value chain, from seed development to production, processing and export. The new knowledge resulting from this research is expected to:
- Increase economic advantages for the grower through yield improvements, reduced input costs and reduced risk from pests, pathogens and environmental changes
- Enhance canola’s attributes for specific markets and non-traditional uses
- Advance environmental performance in canola processing
- Reduce reliance on pesticides by providing growers with new bio-control tools
- Expand understanding of how canola can mitigate climate change
Through the Canola Council’s agronomy team, the research findings will be translated into tangible recommendations that can be adopted by growers, industry and academia.
“The search for a better crop, a better oil and a better source of protein is what led to the creation of canola, more than 50 years ago,” Everson said. “As we look forward, we can see that innovation will be just as important to our future.”
The Canola Council of Canada is a full value chain organization representing canola growers, processors, life science companies and exporters. Keep it Coming 2025 is the strategic plan to ensure the canola industry’s continued growth, demand, stability and success – achieving 52 bushels per acre to meet global market demand of 26 million metric tonnes by the year 2025.
For more information, view the Canola Agri-Science Cluster Project Themes backgrounder.