Quality of Canadian canola 2023

This report presents harvest quality data for Canadian canola grown in 2023. Canola samples were submitted to the Canadian Grain Commission’s Harvest Sample Program by producers and grain companies. Quality data is compiled from the results of analytical tests performed by the Oilseeds program staff from the Grain Research Laboratory.

ISSN 1700-2222
GC Cat No. A92-45E-PDF

Summary

In 2023, the percentage of canola samples graded No. 1 Canada was 95.7%, higher than in 2022 (92.9%) and the 5-year mean of 86.8% (Table 1). Alberta-Peace River had the lowest percentage of No. 1 canola samples at 92.7% (91.7% in 2022), followed by Manitoba at 95.8% (89.3% in 2022) and Saskatchewan at 98.5% (95.8% in 2022). Crop district 6 from Alberta-Peace River had the lowest percentage of No. 1 canola samples (84.2%).

Canadian No. 1 canola was characterized by a higher mean oil content in 2023 than in 2022 (43.2% versus 42.1%) and a lower mean protein content in 2023 than in 2022 (21.8% versus 22.4%) (Table 1). The mean chlorophyll content for No. 1 canola in 2023 was 9 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), identical to that in 2022 (Table 1). The mean total glucosinolate content of seeds in 2023 was 12 micromoles per gram (μmol/g), also identical to that in 2022.

The fatty acid composition data for the 2023 and 2022 canola crops are found in Table 1. The 2023 mean oleic acid content was slightly lower than in 2022 (64.1% versus 64.6%) and slightly higher than the 5-year-mean (63.9%). Alpha-linolenic acid content in 2023 was higher than in 2022 (9.1% versus 8.2%), while mean linoleic acid content was lower in 2023 than in 2022 (17.9% versus 18.1%). Total saturated fatty acid content was slightly lower in 2023 than in 2022 (6.6% versus 6.9%). This resulted in a much higher iodine value for the 2023 canola crop when compared to 2022 (111.3 units versus 109.5 units).

Mean free fatty acid content in No. 1 canola (0.21%) was similar to that in 2022 (0.26%) (Table 1). However, mean values from some Manitoba crop districts ranged from 0.44% to 0.61%.

Table 1  Quality data for 2023 and 2022 harvest samples of Canola, No. 1 Canada
Quality parameter 2023 2022 2018 to 2022 mean
Number of samples received 2,043 1,895 2,275
Number of samples graded Canola, No. 1 Canada 1,955 1,761 1,884
Percentage of samples graded Canola, No. 1 Canada 95.7 92.9 86.8
Oil content, %, 8.5% moisture 43.2 42.1 43.2
Protein content of seedsFootnote 1, %, 8.5% moisture 21.8 22.4 21.7
Protein content of oil-free meal, %, 12% moistureFootnote 2 39.5 39.9 39.6
Chlorophyll content, mg/kg in seed 9 9 10
Total glucosinolate content of seeds, μmol/g, 8.5% moisture 12 12 10
Total glucosinolate content of oil-free meal, μmol/g, 8.5% moisture 23 21 20
Free fatty acids, % 0.21 0.26 0.19
Oleic acid, % in oil 64.2 64.6 63.9
Linoleic acid, % in oil 17.9 18.1 18.3
Alpha-linolenic acid, % in oil 9.1 8.2 8.9
Erucic acid, % in oil 0.02 0.00Footnote 3 0.00
Total SFAFootnote 4, % in oil 6.6 6.9 6.7
Iodine value of oil, units 111.3 109.5 111.2
Total MUFAFootnote 5, % in oil 65.7 66.1 65.4
Total PUFAFootnote 6, % in oil 27.0 26.3 27.3

Introduction

This report presents quality data and information based on canola samples received from western Canada and eastern Canada (Ontario and Québec) by the Canadian Grain Commission’s Harvest Sample Program in 2023. Samples were submitted throughout the harvest period by producers, grain companies and oilseed crushing companies. The following canola quality parameters were measured: oil, protein, chlorophyll, total glucosinolates, free fatty acids and fatty acid composition. Means based on all Canadian samples are weighted according to the production estimates for small areas in western provinces and all areas of Ontario and Québec. As a result, the eastern canola quality data have little influence on the Canadian means.

Figure 1 shows the distribution of canola production across Canada in 2022 for crop districts in Manitoba and Alberta, census agricultural regions (CARs) in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Québec. Prior to 2018, all canola production reporting in the Prairie provinces was based on small area data (SAD) that corresponded to crop districts. In 2018, Statistics Canada began using CARs to describe production areas in Saskatchewan instead of SAD. The new CAR approach did not correspond well with the crop districts in Saskatchewan, affecting the comparison of historical data. Samples received from the Peace River area of British Columbia (crop district 8) were combined with Alberta samples to calculate the Alberta-Peace River means. Quality data for theses samples are listed under Alberta-Peace River. No small area production data are available for Ontario and Québec.

Figure 1  2022 canola production in Canada according to crop districts (Manitoba and Alberta-Peace River), census agricultural regions (Saskatchewan) and eastern provinces.
Figure description follows
Map data
2022 canola production in Canada
Location Metric tonnes
New Brunswick 1,186
Québec 38,674
Ontario 62,528
Region 1 - Manitoba 386,483
Region 2 - Manitoba 345,215
Region 3 - Manitoba 344,862
Region 4 - Manitoba 223,857
Region 5 - Manitoba 223,175
Region 6 - Manitoba 188,832
Region 7 - Manitoba 335,251
Region 8 - Manitoba 557,226
Region 9 - Manitoba 138,254
Region 10 - Manitoba 23,856
Region 11 - Manitoba 71,290
Region 12 - Manitoba 38,129
Region 1 - Saskatchewan 544,598
Region 2 - Saskatchewan 460,229
Region 3 - Saskatchewan 163,220
Region 4 - Saskatchewan 46,902
Region 5 - Saskatchewan 740,733
Region 6 - Saskatchewan 902,422
Region 7 - Saskatchewan 345,565
Region 8 - Saskatchewan 165,544
Region 9 - Saskatchewan 717,102
Region 10 - Saskatchewan 763,798
Region 11 - Saskatchewan 675,479
Region 12 - Saskatchewan 281,740
Region 13 - Saskatchewan 658,930
Region 14 - Saskatchewan 1,002,640
Region 15 - Saskatchewan 1,049,613
Region 16 - Saskatchewan 589,018
Region 17 - Saskatchewan 425,734
Region 10 - Alberta 119,219
Region 20 - Alberta 883,331
Region 30 - Alberta 367,904
Region 40 - Alberta 594,754
Region 41 - Alberta 1,028,353
Region 50 - Alberta 726,030
Region 60 - Alberta 637,520
Region 70 - Alberta 1,234,591
Non Peace, 1 - British Columbia 5,479
Peace River, 8 - British Columbia 63,496

Weather and production review

The agroclimate maps (Figures 2 to 5) were obtained from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Seeding and harvest progress graphs for each province (Figures 6 and 7) were created using data obtained from provincial reports for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The growing conditions and the harvest information for Québec and Ontario were obtained from La Financière agricole du Québec: État des cultures 2023, Crop Reports – Field Crop News and Prograin | Crop reports for Western & Eastern Canada and Maritimes. The number of hectares (ha) seeded with canola (Figure 8) and production data (Figure 9) were obtained from Statistics Canada.

Canada recorded many wildfires in 2023. The wildfire season has historically started in May but in 2023 it started in March and was fueled by hot and dry conditions, especially during May and June. In 2023, there were 700 wildfires in Ontario and Québec, 1,088 in Alberta and 2,245 in British Columbia. This corresponded to a total of 6,132 wildfires that burnt a total of 16.5 million ha in Canada. As a result, many areas in Canada were blanketed by smoke for several days during the 2023 growing season.

Seeding

Temperatures in south eastern Québec and Ontario were higher than normal in April and slightly lower than normal in May (Figure 2). Precipitation was higher than normal in April and early May in eastern Canada, leading to floods in certain areas. Later in May, precipitation decreased and 70% (Eastern Ontario) to 85% (Eastern Québec) of the canola crop was seed by May 23. By the first week of June, 94% of the crop was seeded in Québec, with seeding completed in the Chaudière-Appalaches, Capitale-Nationale and Montérégie (Saint-Hyacinthe) regions. The regions of Abitibi-Témiscamingue (95%), Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (95%) and Bas-Saint-Laurent (90%) were slightly behind.

Like last year, below normal temperatures in April and spring snowstorms caused seeding to be delayed in western Canada compared to historical dates. May temperatures and a lack of precipitation, however, allowed seeding to progress smoothly in most areas. By the end of May, seeding was slightly ahead of the 5-year average in Alberta and slightly behind in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Seeding was considered complete in the Prairies by the second week of June (Figure 6).

Growing season

In Québec, June precipitation was higher than normal, but a moisture deficit still affected all growing areas. Cooler temperatures also affected the development of the canola crops in the area. Temperatures were higher than normal in July for Québec and Ontario (Figure 2). In Québec, wind, rain, and hail in July led to crop damage. In Ontario, record precipitations and field ponding in July affected crop development. In August, the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region in Québec finally received some moisture, which greatly helped crop development. All other growing regions in Québec had very humid conditions and wet fields that limited producer access. During this period, weather conditions improved in Ontario.

June temperatures were higher than normal in the Prairies (Figure 2) and precipitation was variable. The hot and dry weather in June accelerated crop development. July daytime temperatures were, for the most part, in the high 20°C to 30°C range (Figure 5), but the nights were cool with temperatures in the single digits (Figure 3). This resulted in July temperatures that were lower than normal in Manitoba and most of Saskatchewan, and slightly higher than normal in Alberta and the Peace River area (Figure 2). The cooler nights slowed crop development somewhat and most canola fields began flowering in July. Warmer than normal temperatures returned in August (Figure 2). The lack of moisture was an issue again this year (Figure 4) and precipitation was mostly localized, in the form of thundershowers. The southern and central regions of Alberta and the west-central and southwestern regions of Saskatchewan experienced drought like conditions during the 2023 growing season (Figure 4). Damage to canola fields was mainly due to heat, lack of moisture and grasshoppers.

Harvest conditions

Good weather conditions allowed Québec producers to start their harvest in September. By September 12, 70% of the canola was harvested in the Montérégie (Saint-Hyacinthe) region, which is consistent with the typical harvest. The canola harvest advanced slowly in September, but the pace picked up in early October due to favorable weather conditions. The Aitibi-Témiscamingue and Bas-Saint Laurent regions still had harvest delays compared to previous years. By the end of October, only 87% of the Québec canola was harvested compared to 91% in 2022 and 98% in 2021. In most regions of Ontario, canola planted in the spring remained in the fields until the end of September. Canola in northern Ontario was harvested in October, like the Aitibi-Témiscamingue region in Québec.

The swathing of canola started on a limited number of fields in mid-August in Manitoba and in the third week of August in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The 2023 canola harvest progressed quickly in the Prairies, due to low precipitation and warm temperatures (Figure 2). The harvest was considered complete by early October (Figure 7), a few days earlier than last year.

Figure 2  Mean temperature differences from normal in Canada from April 1 to September 30, 2023

April 1, 2023 to April 30, 2023

May 1, 2023 to May 31, 2023

June 1, 2023 to June 30, 2023

July 1, 2023 to July 31, 2023

August 1, 2023 to August 31, 2023

September 1, 2023 to September 30, 2023

Source

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Figure 3  Daily minimum temperature (°C) in Canada on July 3, July 10, July 17 and July 24, 2023

July 3, 2023

July 10, 2023

July 17, 2023

July 24, 2023

Source

Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

Figure 4  Drought intensity in Canada on May 31 and August 31, 2023

Conditions as of May 31, 2023

Conditions as of August 31, 2023

Source

Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

Figure 5  Number of days with temperatures above 30°C in Canada from April 1 to July 31 and April 1 to August 31, 2023

April 1, 2023 to July 31, 2023

April 1, 2023 to August 31, 2023

Source

Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

Figure 6  Seeding in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta during the 2022 and 2023 growing seasonsFootnote 7
Figure data follows
Graph data
Seeding progress (%)
Date Manitoba Saskatchewan Alberta-Peace River
May 2, 2022   1  
May 3, 2022 0   2.3
May 9, 2022   14  
May 10, 2022 0   7.9
May 16, 2022   33  
May 17, 2022 4   29.1
May 23, 2022   52  
May 24, 2022 10   64
May 30, 2022   76  
May 31, 2022 40   92.5
June 6, 2022   91  
June 7, 2022 65   98.7
June 13, 2022   98  
June 14, 2022 87    
June 21, 2022 91    
June 28, 2022 93    
May 2, 2023     0.6
May 8, 2023   9  
May 9, 2023 0   9.5
May 15, 2023   38  
May 16, 2023 8   38.8
May 22, 2023   68  
May 23, 2023 40   78.5
May 29, 2023   89  
May 30, 2023 80   96
June 5, 2023   96  
June 6, 2023 97   99.9
Figure 7  Harvest progress in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta during the 2022 and 2023 growing seasonsFootnote 7
Figure data follows
Graph data
Harvest progress (%)
Date Manitoba Saskatchewan Alberta-Peace River
August 15, 2022   2  
August 16, 2022 0   0
August 22, 2022   3  
August 23, 2022 0   0
August 29, 2022 0.5 8  
August 30, 2022     1.1
September 5, 2022   22  
September 6, 2022 1   8
September 12, 2022   39  
September 13, 2022 11   31
September 19, 2022   52  
September 20, 2022 24   53.5
September 26, 2022   66  
September 27, 2022 30   74.8
October 3, 2022   82  
October 4, 2022 58   91.8
October 10, 2022   90  
October 11, 2022 79   98.1
October 17, 2022   99  
October 18, 2022 90    
October 25, 2022 95    
August 21, 2023   0  
August 22, 2023     1.1
August 28, 2023   10  
August 29, 2023 5   3.5
September 4, 2023   23  
September 5, 2023 14   10
September 11, 2023   42  
September 12, 2023 35   19.1
September 18, 2023   65  
September 19, 2023 55   38.7
September 25, 2023   80  
September 26, 2023 78   61.5
October 2, 2023   90  
October 3, 2023 86   75
October 10, 2023 87   87.2
October 16, 2023   90  
October 17, 2023 94   96.9

Production

The number of hectares seeded with canola in Canada since 2000 is given in Figure 8. In 2023, it was estimated that canola producers seeded approximately 277,500 ha more than in 2022 (8,936,100 versus 8,658,600 ha). This is approximately 1.8% more than the 5-year average of 8,777,070 ha and 377,300 ha less than the record set in 2017, when 9,313,400 ha of canola was seeded (Figure 8).

Statistics Canada estimated the average yield of canola in 2023 in western Canada to be 2,070 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha). This is slightly lower than the yield reported in 2022 (2,114 kg/ha) and the 5-year average yield (2,146 kg/ha). In 2023, the highest average yield was reported in Ontario at 2,992 kg/ha (2,850 kg/ha in 2022), followed by Manitoba at 2,421 kg/ha (2,427 kg/ha in 2022), Québec at 2,292 kg/ha (2,236 kg/ha in 2022) and Alberta at 2,124 kg/ha (2,134 kg/ha in 2022). The lowest yields were observed in British Columbia at 1,967 kg/ha (1,699 kg/ha in 2022) and Saskatchewan at 1,950 kg/ha (2,127 kg/ha in 2022). The lack of water and the drought like conditions were once again responsible for these low yields in 2023.

As of February 2023, Statistics Canada estimated Canadian canola production at 18,328,233 metric tonnes (MT). This is slightly lower than last year’s production of 18,694,768 MT and the 5-year average of 18,612,710 MT (Figure 9). The decrease in canola production in Canada over the last 3 years (Figure 9) can be attributed to the growing conditions, especially the high temperatures and low moisture levels. In 2023, 53.0% of the canola in Canada was produced in Saskatchewan (52.2% in 2022). Québec produced 0.16% (0.21% in 2022), Ontario 0.29% (0.33% in 2022), Alberta 16.7% (16.9% in 2022), Manitoba 29.4% (29.9% in 2022) and British Columbia 0.45% (0.37% in 2022).

Figure 8  Area seeded with canola (hectares) in Canada from 2000 to 2023
Figure data follows
Graph data
Seeded area (hectares)
Year Manitoba Saskatchewan Alberta British Columbia Canada
2000 951,000 2,387,600 1,537,800 36,400 4,937,000
2001 768,900 1,922,300 1,092,700 24,300 3,826,800
2002 890,300 1,746,200 1,193,800 16,200 3,876,800
2003 1,011,700 2,306,700 1,355,700 30,400 4,735,700
2004 1,116,900 2,428,100 1,608,600 28,300 5,218,200
2005 1,011,700 2,549,500 1,740,100 34,400 5,369,900
2006 1,003,600 2,418,900 1,821,100 26,000 5,283,300
2007 1,238,300 3,049,300 2,037,600 28,300 6,382,200
2008 1,254,500 3,116,100 2,104,400 24,300 6,541,100
2009 1,305,100 3,298,200 2,023,400 30,400 6,689,300
2010 1,345,600 3,439,800 2,246,000 40,500 7,116,800
2011 1,133,100 4,006,400 2,457,100 35,800 7,684,700
2012 1,469,000 4,694,400 2,711,400 48,600 8,974,400
2013 1,315,200 4,309,900 2,565,700 40,500 8,274,100
2014 1,284,900 4,350,400 2,751,900 42,500 8,457,900
2015 1,301,100 4,512,200 2,535,400 36,400 8,411,300
2016 1,294,800 4,552,700 2,495,200 38,400 8,410,900
2017 1,278,800 5,151,600 2,804,500 45,300 9,313,400
2018 1,382,400 4,997,900 2,755,900 55,400 9,232,200
2019 1,338,600 4,765,200 2,401,200 34,700 8,571,700
2020 1,381,600 4,588,800 2,377,900 37,300 8,410,400
2021 1,385,735 4,848,301 2,705,725 41,820 9,012,449
2022 1,327,700 4,610,900 2,639,000 40,700 8,658,600
2023 1,265,900 5,018,200 2,575,000 43,900 8,936,100
Figure 9  Canola production (metric tonnes) in Canada from 2000 to 2023
Figure data follows
Graph data
Production (tonnes)
Year Manitoba Saskatchewan Alberta British Columbia Canada
2000 1,487,800 3,424,600 2,188,600 55,200 7,205,300
2001 1,134,000 2,154,600 1,655,600 34,000 5,017,100
2002 1,451,500 1,769,000 1,224,700 18,100 4,520,500
2003 1,769,000 2,676,200 2,222,600 38,600 6,771,200
2004 1,746,300 2,880,300 2,925,700 43,800 7,673,600
2005 1,261,000 4,456,500 3,651,400 63,500 9,483,300
2006 1,825,700 3,696,800 3,424,600 27,200 9,000,300
2007 1,950,400 4,154,900 3,401,900 47,600 9,611,100
2008 2,576,400 5,629,100 4,322,700 31,800 12,644,900
2009 2,891,700 6,259,600 3,628,700 49,900 12,898,100
2010 2,215,800 5,692,600 4,740,000 39,700 12,788,600
2011 1,746,300 7,348,200 5,347,900 56,000 14,608,100
2012 2,100,100 6,486,400 5,097,200 82,800 13,868,500
2013 3,025,500 9,178,400 6,168,900 88,700 18,551,000
2014 2,510,600 7,971,900 5,796,900 71,900 16,410,100
2015 2,857,600 9,536,800 5,851,300 70,800 18,376,500
2016 2,608,200 10,682,100 6,157,500 81,600 19,599,200
2017 3,147,900 11,181,100 6,826,600 90,600 21,458,100
2018 3,318,400 11,308,000 5,870,600 123,900 20,723,500
2019 3,056,300 11,394,000 5,320,100 72,000 19,912,300
2020 3,190,700 10,967,900 5,212,100 55,900 19,484,700
2021 2,514,092 6,758,816 4,341,000 66,537 14,248,281
2022 2,876,431 9,533,269 5,591,701 68,975 18,694,768
2023 3,053,162 9,712,846 5,394,059 82,269 18,328,233

Harvest samples and grade distribution

The Canadian Grain Commission’s Harvest Sample Program collected canola samples from producers, crushing plants and grain handling offices across Canada. The samples were cleaned to remove dockage prior to grading and testing. Canadian Grain Commission grain inspectors assigned grades based on Chapter 10 of the Official Grain Grading Guide, which applies to canola and rapeseed.

Individual harvest samples were analyzed for oil, protein, chlorophyll and total glucosinolate content using a near-infrared (NIR) spectrometer. This report, however, is based on the analyses, by reference methods, of composite samples. Canola composites were prepared by combining:

  • No. 1 Canada samples from western Canadian crop districts and CARs, Ontario and Québec
  • No. 2 Canada and No. 3 Canada samples from each province
  • Sample Canada samples from western Canada

Oil, protein and total seed glucosinolate content are reported on an 8.5% moisture basis to permit annual and regional comparisons. The protein content of oil-free meal is reported on a 12% moisture basis, while the glucosinolate content of oil-free meal is reported on an 8.5% moisture basis to reflect meal-trading rules established by the Canadian Oilseed Processors Association (COPA).

Quality data for Manitoba and Alberta crop districts, Saskatchewan CARs and western Canadian canola varieties are published in Canadian Grain Commission Grain harvest and export quality reports.

This report for the 2023 harvest is based on the analyses of 2,043 individual canola samples, which included 1,955 that were graded No. 1 (Table 1). Composites of No. 1 canola were made from samples from each crop district (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia) and from Ontario and Québec. Crop district and provincial composites of No. 1 canola samples were prepared from 2,011 samples. Specialty oil samples, such as high oleic acid, low linolenic acid and high erucic acid, are excluded from this report. In 2023, we received 148 more samples than in 2022, which is 232 fewer samples than the 5-year mean (Table 1).

Canadian export samples of commercially clean (CC) canola from August 2023 to December 2023 had a mean dockage of 1.3% and ranged in value from 0.60% to 2.50%. This negatively affected quality factors such as oil, chlorophyll and free fatty acids content. Canola exports containing more than 2.5% dockage are considered not commercially clean (NCC) and the values of their quality parameters are usually reduced even further.

Figure 10  Number of canola samples received by the Harvest Sample Program and their grade distribution from 2013 to 2023
Figure data follows
Graph data
Number of samples
Crop year Total samples No. 1 Canada No. 2 Canada No. 3 Canada Sample Canada % No. 1
2000 1464 1109 264 74 17 75.75
2001 1398 979 361 49 9 70.03
2002 1374 963 281 91 40 70.09
2003 2316 2053 234 19 10 88.64
2004 1991 1186 570 202 33 59.57
2005 2186 1920 198 60 8 87.8
2006 2485 2268 196 14 7 91.3
2007 2114 1859 212 37 6 87.9
2008 1767 1674 58 17 18 94.7
2009 1362 1251 81 16 14 91.9
2010 1785 1345 244 128 68 75.3
2011 1749 1487 166 65 31 85.2
2012 2089 1714 301 45 29 82.9
2013 1588 1488 62 21 17 93.7
2014 1765 1452 218 63 32 82.3
2015 2015 1840 121 37 17 91.3
2016 1954 1865 52 11 26 95.5
2017 2309 2180 77 27 25 94.4
2018 2504 1874 219 290 122 74.8
2019 2274 1936 190 106 42 85.1
2020 2430 2199 140 58 33 90.5
2021 2185 1979 168 27 7 90.6
2022 1893 1760 105 13 15 93.0
2023 1992 1907 66 12 7 95.7

In 2023, 95.7% of the canola harvest samples were graded No. 1. This is 2.8% higher than in 2022 (92.9%) and 8.8 % higher than the 5-year mean of 86.1% (Figure 10). The grade distribution of the 2023 canola crop varied greatly between provinces and between crop districts within provinces. The main degrading factors observed in the 2023 canola were distinctly green (DGR) seeds, sprouting and admixture. The level of DGR seeds was 0.53% (0.56% in 2022) for No. 1 canola, 2.92% (3.13% in 2022) for No. 2 canola, 8.18% (7.33% in 2022) for No. 3 canola and 0.81% (0.94% in 2022) for Sample grade.

It is important to note that the numbers of samples in each grade or province may not be representative of the total production or grade distribution. There were sufficient samples, however, to provide good quality information for each province and grade. Provincial and western Canadian means were calculated using the quality results for each crop district or CAR, weighted with the production data (5-year mean) and the grade percentile per crop district or CAR.

Quality characteristics

Tables 2 and 3 contain detailed information on the quality of Canadian canola harvested in 2023 in Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Table 4 compares the quality of harvest samples to recent canola export samples. The weighted means from eastern Canada had little effect on the Canadian means since eastern production (Québec and Ontario) is minimal compared to western production (83,072 MT versus 18.24 million MT). The provincial data that have the most influence on the Canadian means are from Saskatchewan, as over 50% of Canadian canola is produced in Saskatchewan.

There were not enough samples graded No. 2 or lower from eastern Canada to prepare eastern composites of the lower grades and run statistical analyses. The lower grade results reflect the quality of canola from western Canada.

Table 2  Oil, protein, chlorophyll and total glucosinolate content and free fatty acid content of oil in 2023 canola harvest samples according to grade and province

Canola, No. 1 Canada
Location Number of samples Oil contentFootnote 8, % Protein contentFootnote 1, % Chlorophyll
contentFootnote 9, mg/kg
Glucosinolate
content, µmol/g
Free fatty acid
content, %
Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean
Québec 13 43.6 41.0 46.3 21.7 20.0 23.6 5 3 11 8 2 11 0.52
Ontario 32 43.9 38.5 47.2 20.6 17.8 24.5 4 3 9 11 3 17 0.49
Manitoba 402 42.8 37.4 49.1 21.7 17.4 26.7 7 3 30 11 2 15 0.41
Saskatchewan 802 43.1 35.6 49.3 21.9 15.5 29.6 7 3 25 12 2 27 0.16
Alberta-Peace RiverFootnote 10 650 43.8 35.9 52.3 21.7 15.5 29.2 12 3 56 12 2 22 0.20
CanadaFootnote 11 1,899 43.2 35.6 52.3 21.8 15.5 29.6 9 3 56 12 2 27 0.21
Canola, No. 2 Canada
Location Number of samples Oil contentFootnote 8, % Protein contentFootnote 1, % Chlorophyll
contentFootnote 9, mg/kg
Glucosinolate
content, µmol/g
Free fatty acid
content, %
Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean
Manitoba 15 40.3 37.4 43.2 24.0 21.6 25.5 13 3 23 14 5 18 1.61
Saskatchewan 7 43.1 40.2 46.2 22.1 19.0 24.5 18 8 28 11 5 10 0.92
Alberta-Peace RiverFootnote 10 41 43.7 39.3 47.6 21.6 19.1 25.4 30 7 66 11 4 15 0.28
CanadaFootnote 11 63 42.6 37.4 47.6 22.4 19.0 25.5 21 3 66 12 4 18 0.85
Canola, No. 3 Canada
Location Number of samples Oil contentFootnote 8, % Protein contentFootnote 1, % Chlorophyll
contentFootnote 9, mg/kg
Glucosinolate
content, µmol/g
Free fatty acid
content, %
Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean
Saskatchewan 4 43.1 33.0 43.9 21.9 21.4 28.5 7 7 80 10 6 36 0.37
Alberta-Peace RiverFootnote 10 6 41.3 40.0 45.2 21.8 20.4 24.0 82 36 63 11 6 13 0.37
CanadaFootnote 11 10 42.3 33.0 45.2 21.9 20.4 28.5 42 7 80 10 6 36 0.37
Canola, Sample Canada
Location Number of samples Oil contentFootnote 8, % Protein contentFootnote 1, % Chlorophyll
contentFootnote 9, mg/kg
Glucosinolate
content, µmol/g
Free fatty acid
content, %
Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean
CanadaFootnote 11 5 44.0 43.5 45.7 19.9 19.1 20.7 20 7 23 12 3 9 0.58

Table 3  Main fatty acid composition, total SFA, PUFA and MUFA content and iodine value of oil in 2023 canola harvest samples according to grade and province

Canola, No. 1 Canada
Location Oleic acid
(C18:1), %
Linoleic acid
(C18:2), %
Alpha-linolenic acid
(C18:3), %
Erucic
acid
(C22:1), %
SFA,Footnote 4 % PUFA,Footnote 6 % MUFA,Footnote 5 % Iodine value,Footnote 12
units
Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max
Québec 63.2 61.0 66.1 18.4 15.8 18.7 9.4 8.2 11.1 0.00 6.8 27.8 64.9 112.1 108.8 116.0
Ontario 63.8 60.9 66.3 18.3 15.6 19.7 8.7 7.6 11.0 0.11 6.8 27.0 65.6 110.7 108.3 116.0
Manitoba 64.3 59.1 70.5 17.8 15.8 20.6 8.9 5.4 11.7 0.01 6.6 26.8 65.9 110.8 103.2 117.9
Saskatchewan 64.2 57.4 70.4 17.9 15.1 21.1 9.0 5.8 13.0 0.03 6.7 26.9 65.8 111.0 103.5 120.7
Alberta-Peace RiverFootnote 10 63.8 56.7 68.4 17.9 15.4 20.6 9.5 6.6 13.1 0.00 6.6 28.1 65.2 113.7 105.8 121.3
CanadaFootnote 11 64.1 56.7 70.5 17.9 15.1 21.1 9.1 5.4 13.1 0.02 6.6 27.0 65.7 111.3 103.2 121.3
Canola, No. 2 Canada
Location Oleic acid
(C18:1), %
Linoleic acid
(C18:2), %
Alpha-linolenic acid
(C18:3), %
Erucic
acid
(C22:1), %
SFA,Footnote 4 % PUFA,Footnote 6 % MUFA,Footnote 5 % Iodine value,Footnote 12
units
Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max
Manitoba 63.0 60.3 65.8 18.2 15.9 19.5 9.6 8.3 11.3 0.02 6.6 27.9 64.8 112.3 108.7 115.7
Saskatchewan 63.7 61.9 70.6 18.7 15.4 18.9 8.8 5.3 11.0 0.02 6.4 27.6 65.4 111.6 102.7 115.5
Alberta-Peace RiverFootnote 10 62.5 59.5 65.9 18.6 16.7 20.1 9.9 8.8 12.0 0.02 6.6 28.5 64.2 113.2 110.1 117.9
CanadaFootnote 11 63.1 59.5 70.6 18.6 15.4 20.1 9.4 5.3 12.0 0.02 6.5 28.0 64.8 112.4 102.7 117.9
Canola, No. 3 Canada
Location Oleic acid
(C18:1), %
Linoleic acid
(C18:2), %
Alpha-linolenic acid
(C18:3), %
Erucic
acid
(C22:1), %
SFA,Footnote 4 % PUFA,Footnote 6 % MUFA,Footnote 5 % Iodine value,Footnote 12
units
Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max
Saskatchewan 63.14 57.7 64.5 19.2 17.8 20.3 8.8 8.4 11.3 0.00 6.5 28.1 64.7 111.9 110.1 116.6
Alberta-Peace RiverFootnote 10 59.36 57.3 63.0 19.9 17.4 21.1 11.2 9.6 12.6 0.05 6.8 31.2 61.3 116.4 112.6 119.5
CanadaFootnote 11 61.4 57.3 64.5 19.6 17.4 21.1 9.9 8.4 12.6 0.02 6.6 29.5 63.1 114.0 110.1 119.5
Canola, Sample Canada
Location Oleic acid
(C18:1), %
Linoleic acid
(C18:2), %
Alpha-linolenic acid
(C18:3), %
Erucic
acid
(C22:1), %
SFA,Footnote 4 % PUFA,Footnote 6 % MUFA,Footnote 5 % Iodine value,Footnote 12
units
Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max Mean Min Max
CanadaFootnote 11 63.9 60.1 69.1 19.1 15.7 19.6 7.9 5.9 11.9 0.00 6.5 27.1 65.6 110.2 103.7 117.1
Table 4  Comparison of quality data from 2023 harvest samples and recent export shipments for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Quality parameter 2023 Harvest Sample Program Commercially clean exports Not commercially clean exports
December 2023 August to November 2023 Previous shipping season 2022 to 2023 August to December 2023
Oil contentFootnote 8, % 43.2 42.7 41.8 41.3 41.2
Protein content of seedsFootnote 1, % 21.8 21.9 22.3 22.7 22.1
Protein content of oil-free mealFootnote 13, % 39.5 39.4 39.5 39.7 38.7
ChlorophyllFootnote 9, mg/kg of seeds 9 13 12 10 10
Total glucosinolates, μmol/g of seeds 12 9 9 10 9
Free fatty acids, % in oil, as oleic acid 0.21 0.26 0.27 0.29 0.44
Erucic acid, % in oil 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.02 0.00
Oleic acid, % in oil 64.2 63.6 64.2 65.0 65.1
Alpha-linolenic acid, % in oil 9.1 9.5 8.9 8.1 8.00
Total SFAFootnote 4, % in oil 6.6 6.6 6.7 6.9 6.9
Iodine value of oilFootnote 12, units 111.3 112.2 111.0 109.2 109.1
Total MUFAFootnote 5, % in oil 65.7 65.3 65.9 66.6 66.7
Total PUFAFootnote 6, % in oil 27.0 27.6 26.9 25.9 25.8
Distinctly green (DGR) seed, % 0.53 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.3
Dockage, % not applicable 1.2 1.3 1.3 2.7
Loading moisture, % not applicable 7.77 7.66 7.27 7.77
Number of export samples not applicable 10 52 168 2
Tonnage, metric tonnes not applicable 393,042 1,879,562 6,953,857 67,325

Oil content

In 2023, canola graded No. 1 had an oil content of 43.2% (Table 1). This is higher than the 2022 mean of 42.1% and identical to the 5-year mean, but lower than the 10-year mean of 43.9%. The 2023 and 5-year means are the same because the low mean oil content from 2021 (41.3%) and 2022 (42.1%) greatly influence the 5-year mean calculation and bring down the 5-year mean oil content compared to means from 2005 to 2020 (Figure 11). The 2023 mean oil content for No. 1 canola showed some recovery compared to 2021 and 2022 but compared to the values from 2005 to 2020 it is still low (Figure 11).

Canola graded No. 1 from the Alberta-Peace River region had a mean oil content of 43.8% (42.6% in 2022), higher than canola No. 1 from Manitoba (42.8% in 2023 versus 42.1% in 2022) and Saskatchewan (43.1% in 2023 versus 41.9% in 2022) (Table 2). Samples from eastern Canada had a higher mean oil content than samples from western Canada. Samples from Québec had a mean oil content of 43.6% (44.0% in 2022), whereas samples from Ontario had a mean oil content of 43.9% (44.9% in 2022).

The oil content of individual canola samples graded No. 1 ranged from 37.4% to 49.1% in Manitoba (39.3% to 49.2% in 2022), 35.6% to 49.3% in Saskatchewan (34.9% to 48.2% in 2022), 35.9% to 52.3% in the Alberta-Peace River region (35.5% to 48.7% in 2022), 41.0% to 46.3% in Québec (41.8% to 46.7% in 2022) and 38.5% to 47.2% in Ontario (42.4% to 48.4% in 2022) (Table 2).

In 2023, the oil content of No. 2 canola from western Canada (42.6%) was lower than that of No. 1 canola from western Canada (43.2%). Most of the samples graded No.2 were from Alberta-Peace-River. These samples had a mean oil content of 43.7%, significantly higher than the mean from Saskatchewan (43.1%) and Manitoba (40.3%). Oil content for No. 2 canola samples from western Canada ranged from 37.4% to 47.6%, compared to 35.4% to 47.2% in 2022 (Table 2). The mean oil content of canola graded No. 3 and Sample from western Canada was 42.3% and 44.0%, respectively.

Oil content is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. For any canola variety, hot and dry growing conditions, rather than cool conditions, results in canola seeds with low oil content. The 2023 growing season was again very dry. Some of the canola crop that began the growing season under moderate drought conditions completed the season under severe drought, with some areas of Alberta reporting extreme to exceptional drought conditions (Figure 4). However, timely rains in the form of thundershowers helped the crop to develop, even if the rain did not replenish the soil moisture. In 2023, there was again a large number of days with temperatures over 30°C. These conditions occurred mainly in August, after most of the crop had finished flowering. The main difference from the 2022 growing season was the low night temperatures in July, as low as single digits in some areas (Figure 3). This helped the canola plants recover from the heat of the day and the morning dew also likely helped them recover from the lack of moisture. The Peace-River area in British-Columbia (crop district 8) and Alberta crop district 7 had above average temperatures during the entire growing season (Figure 2), in addition to a lack of moisture (Figure 4). Night temperatures were quite low (Figure 3),however, and this likely helped the canola crop since the mean oil content was the highest observed in 2023 at 46.6% (8.5% moisture) for both the Peace River area and Alberta crop district 7.

One factor that has an unknown effect on the quality of the 2023 crop is the blanket of smoke from the intense forest fires that ravaged Canada this year. Currently, there is no study examining the effects of smoke on canola crop quality.

Figure 11  Oil content (%, 8.5% moisture) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Oil content (%, 8.5% moisture)
Year Oil content
2000 43.18
2001 42.75
2002 42.49
2003 41.82
2004 43.31
2005 44.43
2006 44.60
2007 43.35
2008 44.34
2009 44.52
2010 44.30
2011 45.24
2012 43.53
2013 44.80
2014 44.16
2015 44.18
2016 44.32
2017 45.04
2018 44.05
2019 44.60
2020 44.05
2021 41.28
2022 42.14
2023 43.23

The mean oil content of CC No. 1 canola exports was 42.7% for December 2023 and 41.8% for August to November 2023 (Table 4). Compared to the harvest samples, the CC and the NCC export samples of No. 1 canola had a lower mean oil content due to dilution from dockage. Harvest samples are completely clean (0.00% dockage). Mean dockage for the CC exports was 1.2% for December 2023 and 1.3% for August to November 2023. Dockage for the 2022 to 2023 shipping season was 1.3% (Table 4). NCC exports had a mean dockage of 2.7% for August to December 2023 (Table 4). The export samples from the beginning of this year’s shipping season showed an increase in oil content compared to last year, which corresponds to the increase in oil content found in the 2023 harvest samples compared to 2022.

Protein content

The mean protein content of canola seed (8.5% moisture) and the calculated mean protein content of oil-free meal (12% moisture) from 2000 to 2023 are given in Figures 12 and 13, respectively. The Canadian mean protein content of seeds was 21.8% for No. 1 canola, 22.4% for No. 2 canola, 21.9% for No. 3 canola and 19.9% for canola graded Sample (Table 2). The mean protein content of seeds for No. 1 canola in 2023 (21.8%) was lower than in 2022 (22.4%) and much lower than the record high observed in 2021 (24.0%), but similar to the 5-year mean of 21.7% (Table 1 and Figure 12). The protein content of seeds for individual No. 1 canola samples ranged in value from 20.0% to 23.6% for Québec, 17.8% to 24.5% for Ontario, 17.4% to 26.7% for Manitoba, 15.5% to 29.6 % for Saskatchewan and 15.5% to 29.2% for Alberta-Peace River. The mean protein content of seeds for western Canadian samples ranged in value from 19.0% to 25.5% for No. 2 canola, 20.4% to 28.5% for No. 3 canola and 19.1% to 20.7% for canola graded Sample (Table 2).

A strong inverse relationship between oil and protein content can be observed in canola seeds. In 2023, mean seed oil content was about 1.1% higher than in 2022 and seed protein content concurrently decreased by 0.6% compared to 2022.

The mean protein content of seeds for CC exports of No. 1 canola was 21.9% for December 2023 and 22.3% for August to November 2023 (Table 4). Mean protein content of seeds for the previous shipping season (August 2022 to July 2023) was higher than that for this year’s shipping season, which is consistent with the 2023 canola protein content of harvest samples (Table 4).

Figure 12  Protein content of seeds (%, 8.5% moisture) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Protein content of seeds (%, 8.5% moisture)
Year Protein content of seeds
2000 21.03
2001 22.26
2002 23.21
2003 23.27
2004 21.51
2005 20.46
2006 21.04
2007 21.68
2008 20.75
2009 19.86
2010 20.13
2011 19.62
2012 21.27
2013 19.75
2014 20.15
2015 20.73
2016 20.05
2017 20.07
2018 21.12
2019 20.40
2020 20.83
2021 24.00
2022 22.37
2023 21.77
Figure 13  Protein content of oil-free meal (%, 12% moisture) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Protein content of oil-free meal (%, 12% moisture)
Year Protein content of meal on oil-free basis
2000 38.30
2001 40.18
2002 41.67
2003 41.21
2004 39.28
2005 38.26
2006 39.49
2007 39.62
2008 38.72
2009 37.20
2010 37.53
2011 37.32
2012 39.02
2013 37.22
2014 37.46
2015 38.55
2016 37.40
2017 38.00
2018 39.10
2019 38.28
2020 38.62
2021 42.04
2022 39.85
2023 39.50

The calculated protein content of oil-free meal is the maximum protein content of a theoretical meal that would be obtained if a crushing plant was able to extract 100% of the oil from the seeds. In 2023, the calculated mean protein content of oil-free meal at 12% moisture was 39.5%. This is slightly lower than the 2022 value of 39.9% and much lower than the value from 2021 (42.0%), but similar to the 5-year mean of 39.6% (Table 1 and Figure 13). The calculated protein content of oil-free meal at 12% moisture was highest for samples from Alberta-Peace River (39.9% in 2023 versus 40.4% in 2022), followed by Saskatchewan (39.7% in 2023 versus 39.8% in 2022) and Manitoba (38.2% in 2023 versus 38.9% in 2022).

The calculated mean protein content of oil-free meal at 12% moisture for CC export samples of No. 1 canola was 39.5% for August to November 2023 and 39.4% for December 2023. These results are slightly lower than the value of 39.7% determined for the last shipping season (August 2022 to July 2023) for CC export samples of No. 1 canola (Table 4).

Chlorophyll content

In 2023, the mean chlorophyll content for all Canadian samples graded No. 1 was 9 mg/kg, 5 mg/kg in Québec samples, 4 mg/kg in Ontario samples, 7 mg/kg in Manitoba samples, 7mg/kg in Saskatchewan samples and 12 mg/kg in Alberta-Peace River samples (Table 2). The Canadian mean is identical to that from the 2022 harvest (9 mg/kg) and lower than the 5-year mean of 10 mg/kg (Table 1). This is the lowest mean chlorophyll content value observed in the last 10 years (Figure 14). Individual samples of No. 1 canola showed variations in chlorophyll content due to variable growing conditions. The chlorophyll content of No. 1 canola samples ranged in value from less than 3 mg/kg to 11 mg/kg in Québec, 3 mg/kg to 9 mg/kg in Ontario, 3 mg/kg to 30 mg/kg in Manitoba, 3 mg/kg to 25 mg/kg in Saskatchewan and 3 mg/kg to 56 mg/kg in Alberta-Peace River (Table 2). Canola from Alberta crop districts 5 and 6 (western part of the central and the north-central districts) had the highest mean chlorophyll content values at 17 mg/kg and 18 mg/kg, respectively.

The mean chlorophyll content of canola samples graded No. 2 was 21 mg/kg (Table 2), similar to that in 2022 (22 mg/kg). Canola samples graded No. 3 and Sample had a mean chlorophyll content of 42 mg/kg and 20 mg/kg, respectively. This is similar to that observed in 2022, which was 35 mg/kg for No. 3 canola and 17 mg/kg for Sample grade canola. Samples of the lowest grade of canola were downgraded for several factors other than immaturity.

Historical means of chlorophyll content vary greatly from year to year (Figure 14) due to variable growing conditions. High chlorophyll content can be related to a one or more factors, including delays in seeding because of cold temperatures and rain, poor growing conditions due to a lack of heat units, and an early frost. Seeding was delayed in 2023 due to cold weather in April and snow in early May, but temperatures throughout May and June were warmer than normal, which allowed for generally uninterrupted seeding. There was no early frost and temperatures remained above normal until the end of the growing season, allowing canola crops to mature without problems.

Figure 14  Chlorophyll content of seeds (mg/kg, as is moisture) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Chlorophyll content of seeds (mg/kg, as is moisture)
Year Chlorophyll content
2000 14.40
2001 16.69
2002 13.42
2003 15.00
2004 16.50
2005 13.91
2006 13.71
2007 14.57
2008 11.03
2009 15.38
2010 12.75
2011 15.88
2012 17.43
2013 11.99
2014 13.33
2015 11.97
2016 11.33
2017 11.25
2018 10.32
2019 12.00
2020 10.07
2021 9.88
2022 8.95
2023 8.87

Canola graded No. 1 must contain no more than 2.00% distinctly green (DGR) seeds. The mean DGR seed content in No. 1 canola samples in 2023 was 0.47% (0.54% in 2022) for Québec, 0.55% (0.28% in 2022) for Ontario, 0.72% (0.80% in 2022) for Manitoba, 0.43% (0.48% in 2022) for Saskatchewan and 0.62% (0.59% in 2022) for Alberta-Peace River. This gave a Canadian mean DGR seed content of 0.53%.

The chlorophyll content of Canadian canola export samples is affected by DGR seed and dockage content. The mean DGR seed content was 0.5% for December 2023 CC canola export samples, 0.4% for August to November 2023 CC canola exports and 0.3% for August to December 2023 NCC canola export samples (Table 4). The mean chlorophyll content for the CC December 2023 export samples (13 mg/kg of seeds) was slightly higher than that for the August to November 2023 CC canola export samples and the 2023 harvest samples, all of which had similar DGR seed content (Table 4).

Glucosinolate content

The mean total glucosinolate content of seeds at 8.5% moisture and the calculated mean total glucosinolate content of oil-free meal at 8.5% moisture from 2000 to 2023 are given in Figure 15 and Figure 16, respectively.

In 2023, canola No. 1 (Table 2) had a mean glucosinolate content of 12 μmol/g of seeds, identical to the 2022 mean but higher than the 5-year mean of 10 μmol/g of seeds. This is the highest mean glucosinolate content since 2015 (Figure 15). Mean total glucosinolate content was 9 μmol/g of seeds for Québec, 11 μmol/g of seeds for Ontario, 11 μmol/g of seeds for Manitoba, 12 μmol/g of seeds for Saskatchewan and 12 μmol/g of seeds for Alberta-Peace River. Samples from CARs 1, 2, 3 and 4 in southern Saskatchewan, CARs 7, 8 and 12 in west-central Saskatchewan, Alberta crop districts 1 and 2 in southeastern Alberta and the Peace River area in British Columbia all had a mean total glucosinolate content value greater than 14 μmol/g of seeds. These canola growing areas were most affected by the lack of moisture during the 2023 growing season (Figure 4). Figure 5 shows that there were a significant number of days in August with temperatures over 30°C in Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan. This year’s results were consistent with the results from 2022 when both Alberta crop district 1 and Saskatchewan CAR 12 experienced severe to extreme drought conditions during the entire growing season. Samples from these specific areas had the highest total glucosinolate content at 18 μmol/g of seeds.

These observations and results agree with a research study from Australia that showed hot and dry conditions, post flowering, led to an increase in the total glucosinolate content of canola seeds. As in 2021 and 2022, heat and a lack of moisture were responsible for the increase in total glucosinolates observed in 2023.

The December 2023 and the August to November 2023 CC canola export samples had a mean total glucosinolate content of 9 μmol/g of seeds, which is similar to last year’s shipping season (Table 4).

In 2023, 12 μmol/g of total glucosinolates in seeds corresponded to 23 μmol/g of total glucosinolates in oil-free meal on an 8.5% moisture basis (Table 1). This is higher than both the 5-year mean of 20 μmol/g and the 2022 mean of 21 μmol/g for oil-free meal (Figure 16 and Table 1). Total glucosinolate content in Canadian canola meal obtained from conventional crushing plants (expeller press followed by solvent extraction) is much lower than this calculated value. The calculated value assumes that 100% of the oil is recovered from the seed during crushing and that no glucosinolates are destroyed during processing, which is never the case.

Figure 15  Total glucosinolate content of seeds (µmol/g, 8.5% moisture) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Total glucosinolate content of seeds (µmol/g, 8.5% moisture)
Year Total glucosinolate content of seeds
2000 9.93
2001 10.92
2002 12.35
2003 11.15
2004 9.40
2005 9.45
2006 10.01
2007 9.79
2008 8.53
2009 9.59
2010 9.90
2011 10.25
2012 10.91
2013 10.14
2014 9.83
2015 10.92
2016 10.27
2017 10.46
2018 10.25
2019 9.40
2020 9.30
2021 11.08
2022 11.68
2023 11.96
Figure 16  Total glucosinolate content of oil-free meal (µmol/g, 8.5% moisture) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Total glucosinolate content of oil-free meal (µmol/g, 8.5% moisture)
Year Total glucosinolate content of oil-free meal
2000 18.80
2001 20.50
2002 23.06
2003 20.54
2004 17.84
2005 18.37
2006 19.53
2007 18.61
2008 16.56
2009 18.68
2010 19.19
2011 20.27
2012 20.81
2013 19.87
2014 19.00
2015 21.12
2016 19.92
2017 20.60
2018 19.77
2019 18.34
2020 17.93
2021 20.09
2022 20.73
2023 22.64

Free fatty acid content

In 2023, the mean free fatty acid (FFA) content of canola samples graded No. 1 was 0.21% (as oleic acid). This is slightly lower than the 2022 mean of 0.26% but similar to the 5-year mean of 0.19% (Table 1 and Figure 17). The mean FFA content for No. 1 canola samples (Table 2) from Manitoba (0.41% in 2023 versus 0.47% in 2022) was higher than that for Alberta-Peace River (0.20% in 2023 versus 0.31% in 2022) and Saskatchewan (0.16% in 2023 and 2022). These values are lower than the FFA means observed in samples from Québec (0.52% in 2023) and Ontario (0.49% in 2023). No. 1 canola samples from Manitoba had a higher mean FFA content than the western Canadian mean (0.21%) and ranged in value from 0.22% to 0.61%, which may pose a problem for local crushers.

In western Canada, canola samples graded No. 2 had a higher mean FFA content than those graded canola No. 1 (0.85% in 2023 versus 0.62% in 2022) (Table 2). Samples from Manitoba had the highest mean FFA content (1.61%), followed by Saskatchewan (0.92%) and Alberta (0.28%).

Plant stress and seed sprouting resulting from hot and dry growing conditions, rain at harvest, or both, can often lead to an increase in FFA content. Some Manitoba samples showed sprouting, which could explain their higher FFA content compared to samples from Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Figure 17  Free fatty acid content (% in oil, as oleic acid) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Free fatty acid content (% in oil, as oleic acid)
Year Free fatty acid content
2000 0.24
2001 0.35
2002 0.35
2003 0.23
2004 0.19
2005 0.11
2006 0.17
2007 0.18
2008 0.10
2009 0.15
2010 0.16
2011 0.12
2012 0.14
2013 0.13
2014 0.18
2015 0.18
2016 0.20
2017 0.15
2018 0.15
2019 0.15
2020 0.15
2021 0.24
2022 0.26
2023 0.21

The mean FFA level of CC canola No. 1 was 0.26% for the December 2023 exports and 0.27% for the August to November 2023 exports (Table 4). FFA levels of individual CC canola No. 1 export samples ranged in value from 0.14% to 0.46% (0.14% to 0.53% for last year’s shipping season during the same period).

It has been observed that FFA levels can increase during the shipping season. Storage conditions can activate hydrolytic enzymes in seeds which leads to an increase in FFA production. FFA content could vary considerably from each load throughout the entire shipping season.

Fatty acid composition

The Canadian mean erucic acid (C22:1) content was 0.02% in 2023, slightly higher than the limit of quantification. Over the last several years, the mean erucic acid content in canola samples graded No. 1 ranged from below the limit of detection to just over the limit of detection (Tables 1 and 3, Figure 18). These low values are a direct result of breeding efforts by the Canadian canola industry.

In 2023, the mean alpha-linolenic acid (C18:3) content of all Canadian samples of canola graded No. 1 was 9.1%, much higher than the 2022 mean (8.2%) and slightly higher than the 5-year mean of 8.9% (Table 1 and Figure 19). Samples from Ontario had the lowest mean alpha-linolenic acid content (8.7%) followed by samples from Manitoba (8.9%), Saskatchewan (9.0%) and Québec (9.4%). Samples from Alberta-Peace River had the highest mean alpha-linolenic acid content at 9.5% (Table 3). Unlike last year, location had some effect on alpha-linolenic acid content. Samples from Alberta crop districts 5, 6, and 7 and the Peace-River area had alpha-linolenic acid means equal to or higher than 10%.

In 2023, the Canadian mean oleic acid (C18:1) content for No. 1 canola was 64.1%, lower than the 2022 mean of 64.6%, but much higher than the 5-year mean of 63.4% (Table 1 and Figure 20). The lowest mean oleic acid was found in samples from Québec (63.2% in 2023 versus 62.0% in 2022) and the highest in Manitoba (64.3% in 2023 versus 64.2% in 2022) (Table 3). The mean oleic acid was lower in 2023 than in 2022 for samples from Ontario (63.8% in 2023 versus 64.4% in 2022), Saskatchewan (64.2% in 2023 versus 64.6% in 2022) and Alberta-Peace River (63.8% in 2023 versus 65.1% in 2022).

The mean total monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) content in 2023 was 64.9% in Québec (63.6% in 2022), 65.6% in Ontario (65.9% in 2022), 65.9% in Manitoba (65.8% in 2022), 65.8% in Saskatchewan (66.2% in 2022) and 65.2% in Alberta-Peace River (66.4% in 2022). The Canadian mean total MUFA was 65.7% in 2023, slightly lower than the 2022 mean of 66.0% and slightly higher than the 5-year mean of 65.4% (Tables 1 and 3).

Mean linoleic acid (C18:2) content was lower than last year (17.9% in 2023 versus 18.1% in 2022) (Figure 21) and the 5-year mean of 18.3% (Table 1). While linoleic acid decreased, alpha-linolenic acid content increased (Figure 19). Over the last 10 years (2013 to 2022), linoleic acid content has generally decreased (Figure 21). This decrease is likely related to genetics since changes from one year to another are related to environmental conditions. This year’s oleic acid content decreased compared to last year, while oil content and alpha-linolenic acid content both increased this year compared to last year (Table 1, Figures 11, 19 and 20), which agrees with the effect of the cool night temperatures in July. Cool night temperatures would have led to an increase in linoleic acid content compared to last year if only environmental factors were affecting canola since cool temperatures help to increase the content of all polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, the linoleic acid content decreased in 2023 compared to last year (Figure 21), which suggests that the 2023 decrease was likely due to genetic factors and not the environmental growing conditions.

In 2023, the mean total polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content was 27.8% in Québec (28.9% in 2022), 27.0% in Ontario (26.6% in 2022), 26.8% in Manitoba (26.6% in 2022), 26.9% in Saskatchewan (26.2% in 2022) and 28.1% in Alberta-Peace River (26.2% in 2022). This resulted in a Canadian mean PUFA content of 27.0% (26.3% in 2022), compared to the 5-year mean of 27.3% (Tables 1 and 3). In canola, PUFA content is directly related to alpha-linolenic acid (C18:3) and linoleic acid (C18:2) content. In 2023, there was a 0.9% increase in alpha-linolenic acid and a 0.2% decrease in linoleic acid, which accounted for the 0.7% increase in PUFA content compared to last year.

Fatty acid composition (oleic acid, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid) in the 2023 crop differed from that in 2022. There was a 0.4% and 0.2% decrease in oleic acid and linoleic acid, respectively, and a 0.9% increase in alpha-linolenic acid. As a result, the iodine value, which represents the degree of unsaturation in oil, was higher in 2023 (111.3 units) compared to 2022 (109.5 units) (Table 1). The 2023 iodine value was 1.8 units higher than last year, but similar to the 5-year mean of 111.2 units (Table 1). Even though the 2023 iodine value recovered from last year’s record low, which was the lowest iodine value observed since 2000 (Figure 22), it is still lower than the 10-year mean of 111.9 units. For No. 1 canola, the mean iodine value in 2023 was 112.1 units (113.4 units in 2022) for Québec, 110.7 units (110.0 units in 2022) for Ontario, 110.8 units (109.8 units in 2022) for Manitoba, 111.0 units (109.3 units in 2022) for Saskatchewan and 113.7 units (110.2 units in 2022) for Alberta-Peace River (Table 3). In 2023, the iodine value of Canadian samples graded No. 1 ranged from 103.2 units to 121.3 units, while in 2022 it ranged from 104.2 units to 117.8 units. Canola samples graded No. 2 had a higher iodine value, linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid content, and lower oleic acid content than No 1 canola samples (Table 3).

The Canadian mean saturated fatty acid (SFA) content for canola No. 1 samples was 6.6% in 2023, which is slightly lower than the 2022 mean of 6.9% and the 5-year mean of 6.7% (Tables 1 and 3, Figure 23). Since 2009, the mean SFA content has varied between 6.6% and 6.9% (Figure 23). In 2023, the mean SFA content for No. 1 canola was 6.8% for samples from Québec and Ontario, 6.6% for samples from Manitoba and Alberta and 6.7% for samples from Saskatchewan (Table 3).

The fatty acid composition of the 2023 harvest samples corresponded well with the fatty acid composition of the August to December 2023 export samples (Table 4). Up to December 2023, oleic acid content was lower, while alpha-linolenic acid content and iodine value were higher for canola samples from this year’s shipping season compared to last season.

Figure 18  Erucic acid content (% in oil) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Erucic acid content (% in oil)
Year Erucic acid content
2000 0.15
2001 0.11
2002 0.11
2003 0.13
2004 0.12
2005 0.06
2006 0.05
2007 0.04
2008 0.01
2009 0.01
2010 0.03
2011 0.01
2012 0.01
2013 0.01
2014 0.01
2015 0.01
2016 0.01
2017 0.01
2018 0.00
2019 0.00
2020 0.01
2021 0.00
2022 0.00
2023 0.02
Figure 19  Alpha-linolenic acid content (% in oil) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Alpha-linolenic acid content (% in oil)
Year Alpha-linolenic acid content
2000 9.93
2001 9.35
2002 10.58
2003 8.44
2004 11.24
2005 11.05
2006 9.89
2007 9.77
2008 9.08
2009 10.00
2010 10.00
2011 9.87
2012 9.55
2013 9.07
2014 9.21
2015 9.70
2016 9.61
2017 9.54
2018 8.66
2019 10.01
2020 8.91
2021 8.60
2022 8.16
2023 9.11
Figure 20  Oleic acid content (% in oil) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Oleic acid content (% in oil)
Year Oleic acid content
2000 61.46
2001 61.94
2002 60.64
2003 63.18
2004 58.94
2005 59.82
2006 62.05
2007 61.47
2008 63.21
2009 62.25
2010 62.25
2011 62.04
2012 62.50
2013 63.43
2014 63.17
2015 62.56
2016 62.58
2017 62.93
2018 64.27
2019 62.40
2020 63.87
2021 64.19
2022 64.55
2023 64.09
Figure 21  Linoleic acid content (% in oil) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Linoleic acid content (% in oil)
Year Linoleic acid content
2000 19.08
2001 19.12
2002 19.14
2003 18.52
2004 20.29
2005 19.70
2006 18.86
2007 19.30
2008 18.45
2009 18.81
2010 18.86
2011 19.05
2012 19.17
2013 18.52
2014 18.66
2015 18.78
2016 18.90
2017 18.85
2018 18.32
2019 18.74
2020 18.29
2021 18.32
2022 18.05
2023 17.86
Figure 22  Iodine value of oil (units) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Iodine value of oil (units)
Year Iodine value
2000 114.00
2001 112.41
2002 114.74
2003 110.07
2004 117.01
2005 116.05
2006 113.38
2007 113.27
2008 111.49
2009 113.96
2010 115.04
2011 113.63
2012 113.32
2013 111.75
2014 112.15
2015 113.13
2016 113.10
2017 113.11
2018 110.95
2019 113.69
2020 111.25
2021 110.91
2022 109.45
2023 111.26
Figure 23  Saturated fatty acid content (% in oil) for Canola, No. 1 Canada
Figure data follows
Graph data
Saturated fatty acid content (% in oil)
Year Saturated fatty acid content
2000 7.09
2001 7.20
2002 7.03
2003 7.26
2004 6.96
2005 6.96
2006 6.98
2007 6.98
2008 7.09
2009 6.85
2010 6.85
2011 6.80
2012 6.58
2013 6.80
2014 6.66
2015 6.65
2016 6.74
2017 6.53
2018 6.65
2019 6.64
2020 6.80
2021 6.58
2022 6.91
2023 6.63

Acknowledgments

We acknowledge the cooperation of canola producers, grain companies and oilseed crushing plants in western and eastern Canada for supplying samples of newly harvested canola. We also thank the following groups within the Canadian Grain Commission: Industry Services, for grading canola samples; the Oilseeds Program staff, for technical assistance; Tiffany Chin, for providing the production map; and Multimedia services, for their assistance in the publication of this document.

Date modified: