| WINNIPEG, Manitoba
WINNIPEG, Manitoba Jan 9 Canada's canola crop
could reach 26 million tonnes by 2025, beating this year's
record harvest by more than 40 percent, the Canola Council of
Canada said on Thursday in setting targets for the next decade.
The Canola Council's goals are significant because the group
represents most of the industry, including seed developers,
farmers, exporters and crushers. More canola production would
keep Canada, its biggest producer and exporter, competitive in
global oilseed exports against soybeans and palm oil.
Canadian farmers last year harvested 18 million tonnes of
canola, blowing past the council's previous target of 15 million
tonnes two years early.
Rising global demand for vegetable oil and protein will
provide a market for the extra production, said Terry Youzwa,
chairman of the Canola Council, who farms at Nipawin,
"The world is telling the Canadian canola industry to keep
it coming," he said in Winnipeg.
The crop has grown in popularity with farmers over the past
decade due to its profitability.
Most of the extra canola is expected to come from farmers
squeezing more of the yellow-flowering oilseed out of each acre
of land, rather than through a large expansion of planted area.
The council is aiming for an average of 52 bushels per acre
by 2025, well ahead of last year's 40 bushels per acre, from an
area of 22 million acres. That area would be about two million
acres larger than it is currently.
There is room to sharply boost canola production as long as
it comes mostly from increasing yield, not expanding plantings,
said Venkata Vakulabharanam, oilseed specialist for the
government of Saskatchewan, the biggest canola-growing province.
The province recommends growing canola only once every four
years, but some farmers grow it more often to chase profits,
increasing the likelihood of plant disease and reduced yields,
he said, in an interview from Regina, Saskatchewan.
Seed development companies like Monsanto Co are
working on new varieties of canola that better resist disease,
and yields are already rising as farm practices improve, said
Neil Arbuckle, the company's canola business development lead.
Domestic canola demand has been growing for years.
Canadian canola crushers, including Cargill Ltd,
Richardson International Limited and Louis Dreyfus Corp
recently expanded, while Archer Daniels Midland Co
, Bunge Ltd, Cargill and Richardson are all adding
further capacity in the next few years.
Canadian crushers will aim to nearly double their annual
canola volumes to 14 million tonnes by 2025, while seed
exporters will strive to boost shipments by 40 percent,
according to the council's goals.
Despite canola's popularity, it faces a fight for acres.
Corn and soybeans, once a rare sight in Western Canada, have
muscled their way into Manitoba, with Monsanto and DuPont
Pioneer developing varieties to thrive in more regions.
Moving a much bigger canola crop to port for export also
poses a challenge. With record large harvests in 2013 of both
canola and wheat, Canada's railways have struggled to transport
the crops quickly, resulting in a backlog.