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What is canola ?

Canola is a plant which produces groups of yellow, four-petalled flowers.
Canola is grown mostly in western Canada.
It is the number one oilseed crop in Canada.
Canola is Saskatchewan's second most important crop, after wheat.
The word canola stands for "Canadian" and "oil".
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You may have seen the bright yellow fields of canola when you've been out for a drive in the country in the summer.
field of canola
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How does canola grow ?

First a field is seeded. Then fertilizer and pesticides are applied to control insects, weeds and diseases.
Canola plants can grow to be one to two meters tall.
The flowers produce small green pods ( about 5 cm long ) with 20 to 35 small round seeds in each pod.
The pods are harvested ( swathed ) when they turn brown.
The swathed crop dries for about 10 days and then is combined.
Trucks haul the crop to a grain elevator.
canola seeds

What happens to the canola seeds ?

The seeds are hauled to crushing plants.
There are plants at Clavet (near Saskatoon) and Nipawin.
The seeds are crushed into oil and meal.
The canola seed has about 40% oil and 60% is made into meal.
After the oil is crushed out of the seeds, it is cleaned and refined.
Bulk oil is shipped to other countries.
Some of the oil is packaged as margarine.
Some of the oil is bottled.
canola oil
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Uses for canola


The oil is used

  • in mayonnaise, cookies, cake mixes, breads, margarine, and is found in many other foods
  • as salad oil, for frying , and in cooking sprays
  • in coffee whiteners and creamers
  • in cosmetics (lipstick, hand cream, soap, lip balm, bath oils, suntan oil )

farm animals

The meal is used
  • as feed for livestock (cattle, horses, pigs) and for poultry (chickens, ducks, geese )
  • for pet food, fish food and bird seed
  • in printing inks and plastic wraps
  • as a fertilizer.
Canola oil is good for you.
  • It contains Vitamin E (for fighting cancer and heart disease) and Vitamin K (needed for blood clotting).
  • It is cholesterol-free and helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Around the world

Canola seed and meal is sold to United States. Seed and meal is also shipped to Japan, Mexico, Korea, and China.

Farming | Saskatchewan

** photos courtesy of Canola Information Services **

LINKS - Saskatchewan Canola | Canola, A Canadian Success Story

J. Giannetta, Regina, Sask.
updated 2011