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Canola’s Magic Number?

The Canola Council of Canada has set an aggressive goal of 26 million tons of production by the year 2025. After harvesting 18 million tons in 2013, this target did not seem overly ambitious. However, 2014 brought disease, floods, a difficult harvest, transportation problems, and a 13 million ton crop. Despite these issues, producers and industry insiders remain bullish on their goal.

Last year’s growing season highlighted the industry’s need to stay ahead of plant diseases, and verticillium wilt in particular, in order to boost yields by 40% to reach the 52 bushels per acre needed by 2025. The task is daunting. Production trends in output and yields going back to the 1970s do not indicate trends in increases over time needed to reach these set goals. However, if taking into account production trends from 2000 onward, Farm Credit Canada economist, JP Gervais believes that 52 bushels per acre is possible.

However, the success of a crop does not rely on output alone. A note of caution has been voiced that double digit increases in canola output will rely heavily upon North American transportation systems including railways, roads, waterways and pipelines that are aging and decaying.

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