Oklahoma State University

Background and Benefits

Background and Benefits

Canola Background

  • Canola is a special type of oilseed rape (rapeseed) that has less than 2% erucic acid in the oil.
  • This allows canola oil to be used as a cooking oil and the meal as a high quality protein for livestock.
  • In 1985, the FDA ruled that rapeseed oil (Canola) is safe for human consumption.
  • Canola oil contains 6 percent saturated fat, the lowest level of any available vegetable oil.
  • The United States currently imports 2 million acres of production each year.
  • Winter canola is under USDA oil seed crop price support program.

U.S. Canola Acreage - 2009

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Canola Oil

  • Rapeseed oil (non edible) was used in lamps and as a lubricant in steam engines in naval and merchant ships.
  • Canola oil (edible) contains two polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential in our diets.
  • Seed contains approx. 40% oil.
  • One bushel (50 lbs) makes 2.2 gals of edible oil.
  • Some other canola products include: suntan oil, margarine, shortening, hydraulic fluids, biodiesel, creamers, fabrics, cosmetics, mayonnaise and printing inks.



Canola Meal

  • Contains a minimum of 34% protein. Second only to high protein soybean meal at 47%.
  • Sold as mash or pellets.
  • Used for people food, fish, animals and fertilizer for mushroom growers.
  • Excellent for dairy cattle.
  • Some products include: cake mixes, frozen foods, bread, livestock feed, poultry feed, pet food, fish food, fertilizer.


Canola Seed

  • Canola was derived from the rapeseed plant using traditional plant breeding methods.
  • There are between 60,000 and 165,000 seeds per pound depending on cultivar.
  • Seeding rate is 3.5 to 6 lbs per acre.


Major Canola Benefits

  • Provide the Oklahoma Wheat Grower with a winter broadleaf rotational crop.
  • Allow clean up of difficult to control broadleaves and grasses in current wheat production areas.
  • Produce a profitable alternative crop.
  • Potentially improve yield and quality of winter wheat planted after a canola rotation.

Benefits for Developing Canola for OK

  • Canola would give wheat growers the opportunity to produce a commodity that is not tied to the grain market. Sorghum and corn are both tied to the wheat market. Canola is tied to an oil-seed market.
  • The use of current small grain equipment reduces investment costs.
  • A rotational will help break up pest cycles.
  • A canola rotation provides an opportunity to control difficult grass weed species found in wheat.
  • Potentially improve yield and quality of winter wheat planted after a canola rotation. Limited research has shown a 15% increase in winter wheat yields following canola.
  • Development of energy markets.

Effects of Canola on Subsequent Crops

Positive Impact

  • Excellent rotational crop for wheat. See a reduction in wheat diseases because canola is not a host for cereal diseases.
  • Canola actually kills certain cereal pathogens such as take-all root rot due to release inhibitory compounds during decomposition.
  • Commercial field data from Canada confirm wheat yield increase following canola.

Negative Impact

  • Canola provides less trash cover than average cereal crop. Less residue and breaks down quicker.


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