Canola production of 26 million tonnes sought by 2025

After producing a record large 17.96 million-tonne canola crop in 2013-14, the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) is looking to further increase Canadian production in the next decade.

Introduced Thursday, the council’s new 10-year plan, titled Keep it Coming 2025, targets production of 26 million metric tonnes, with the average yield at 52 bushels per acre by 2025.

“That’s a bold target, no doubt about it,” council chairman Terry Youzwa, who farms at Nipawin, Sask., told a news conference in Winnipeg. “We believe it can be done and it can be done responsibly and sustainably.”

Reaching the 26 million-tonne mark, he added, will come through increased yields instead of significantly increasing the seeded area.

“It’s a yield target. We’re not significantly talking about increased acres,” he said. “As a canola grower, I’m convinced we can achieve 52 bushels per acre.”

A concern with an increased production target is if global demand can keep up. However, Youzwa said global canola oil demand is expected to grow in the next decade.

“Independent analysis commissioned by the Canola Council of Canada tells us that global oil demand will grow from 150 million tonnes in 2015 to 250 million tonnes by 2025,” he said. “And as populations earn more and learn more about healthy eating, the demand for healthy oil in their food will continue to increase.”

“System will adjust”

Another issue considered was the movement of a crop that size, as Western Canada has dealt with logistical issues all fall in attempting to move a large crop.

Patrick Van Osch, a vice-president at Winnipeg grain handling firm Richardson International, told the press conference he doesn’t expect moving the crop will be an issue; he expects the system to be prepared for it.

“What we’re proposing here is more of a macro strategy, and when you look at a macro strategy, we have 10, 11 years towards reaching the goal,” he said. “It’s our belief that overall, the system will adjust and prepare for it.

“When we came out with a target of seven million tonnes by 2007, the industry adjusted. There are investments made and organizations, companies, producers, railways, everybody is looking at the big picture and saying ‘Where is it going?’ and they’ll adjust their investments accordingly.”

With additional growth for protein in animal diets expected, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, there is potential for a larger market for canola meal as well.

“World markets are telling us they want the products we can provide. They’re telling us to keep it coming,” Youzwa said. “If we don’t rise to the occasion, our competitors will.”

— Brandon Logan writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

Related story:
Canola tonnage poised to top industry’s 2015 target, Oct. 5, 2013

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