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Largest Canola Plant in the World Opens

On October 1, Bayer CropScience officially opened the world’s largest canola seed processing plant located in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

Originally built in 2006, Bayer completed a $15.6 million expansion to the facility bringing its square footage to 43,000 square feet, and the footprint of its conveyance system and storage to cover five acres, enabling the plant to reach a processing capacity of 30,000 tons of canola seed per year.

Noting that half of Canada’s canola fields grew the company’s InVigor brand of canola last year, Al Driver, president of Bayer CropScience Canada said, “and that’s the basis that we have built and expanded this facility.”

In 2006, when the facility was built for $8.4 million, it was engineered to be able to clean five million acres of seed – an ability that company officials doubted would ever be fully met. Today, 20 million acres of canola are being cultivated on Canada’s Prairies and the plant has doubled in size.

The expansion has added 54 new bins to the site bringing the total to 160 in order to receive this year’s canola crop from its 250 contracted growers.

Lethbridge was chosen by the company for such as expansion because of its geographical location, according to Marcus Weidler, head of seeds in Canada for Bayer CropScience.

“Lethbridge is in the heart of the seed production area for canola. If you look around, the majority of all canola seed is produced here in this area, in rotation with other high value crops,” he said. Mr. Weidler also notes that the region could have reached its full potential for canola seed production and separation, but as production extends in Manitoba and Washington, production from those regions will be sent to Lethbridge for processing.

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