Know your options for high-green canola

Canola grades for 2010 are lower than average due to high levels of green seed. Through most of Alberta and in Northeastern Saskatchewan, for example, less than 70% of canola achieved No.1 grade, based on Canadian Grain Commission analysis. See the CGC map below for the percentage of No.1 canola in your region. Across the Prairies, 76.6% of canola graded No.1 in 2010, compared to 92% for 2009, 95% for 2008 and 88% for 2007.

What to do with high green canola:

Know your green count. For growers with high-green canola in the bin, it helps to know what you’ve got before you make marketing decisions. When shopping around for buyers, make sure your sample represents the canola you’ll deliver. Loads have been rejected because the canola delivered didn’t meet the specifications indicated in the original sample.

Get more than one opinion. Remember that “distinctly green” is a subjective analysis, requiring graders to decide whether marginal lime green seeds count as “distinctly green” or not. This can make a big difference in price and marketability of canola if one grader counts 15% green (No.3) and another counts 25% (Sample) when analyzing the same sample. Growers unsure of what they’ve got can send samples to the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), which provides a free grade as part of its Harvest Sample Program. The program ends January 31. Click here for more details. The CGC will also resolve disputed grades.

Green analysis could change to a less subjective test in the future. Crushers want less than 25 milligrams of chlorophyll per kg of seed for No.1 canola, and the CGC has a quick test that measures actual chlorophyll content. But until that machine is available at elevators, distinctly green seed counts remain the grading factor.

Look for buyers. Click here for a list of companies that buy high-green canola.

Don’t add water to bins hoping to reduce green. If canola in the swath gets rain and warm conditions, enzyme activity may restart and some of the green seeds can be reduced. But this doesn’t work as effectively on green locked in by frost, and it is very unlikely that sufficient water and heat can be added to canola in storage to safely recreate these conditions. Given the lack of research to support this practice, the spoilage risk almost certainly outweighs any potential benefit in terms of lowering green counts.


Published on January 5, 2011