Quality of western Canadian flaxseed 2016


This report presents quality data and information based on samples of western Canadian flaxseed from the Canadian Grain Commission’s 2016 Harvest Sample Program. The quality data includes oil, protein, free fatty acids, fatty acid composition and iodine values of harvest samples submitted to the Grain Research Laboratory. Producers and grain companies submitted the samples throughout the harvest period. The map shows the Prairie provinces, the traditional growing areas for flaxseed in western Canada.

Figure 1, Map of Prairie provinces showing traditional growing areas for flaxseed

Mustard crops grown in Canada: Yellow, Brown and Oriental
Traditional growing areas of flaxseed in Canadian prairie provinces.

Source: Flax Council of Canada


The Canadian Grain Commission’s Harvest Sample Program of western Canadian flaxseed shows that the 2016 crop contains similar oil content, higher protein content and slightly lower iodine values when compared to the 2016 harvest.

Table 1 shows data for Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western. Oil content is 45.6%, which is similar to the 2015 mean (45.7%) and the same as the 10-year mean (45.6%). Protein content is 21.9% and is lower than the 2015 mean (22.5%) and the 10-year mean (22.3%). Iodine value is 192.2 units, which is 0.7 units higher than the 2015 value of 191.5 units.

Environmental factors can play an important role in oil and protein content trends, as well as fatty acid composition. The Grain Research Laboratory’s long-term harvest sample results have shown cool, wet growing conditions tend to produce a flaxseed crop with higher oil content and iodine values and lower protein content.

Table 1, Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western Quality data for 2016 harvest
Quality parameter 2016 2015 2016 to 2015 mean
Oil contentFootnote1, % 45.6 45.7 45.6
Protein contentFootnote2, % 21.9 22.5 22.3
Free fatty acids, % 0.19 0.19 0.17
Iodine value 192.2 191.5 191.6
Table 2, Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western Fatty acid composition for 2016 harvest
Fatty acidFootnote3, % in oil 2016 2015 2016 to 2015 mean
Palmitic acid (C16:0) 5.2 4.9 5.0
Stearic acid (C18:0) 3.5 3.5 3.4
Oleic acid (C18:1) 18.1 18.8 18.6
Linoleic acid (C18:2) 14.7 14.6 15.5
α-Linolenic acid(C18:3) 57.8 57.2 56.3
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