How do snow and winter affect canola quality?

November 9, 2016 - Issue 29

We don’t have a lot of data showing what happens to yield and quality for canola that overwinters in the field. Canola harvested in the spring can have lower weights, lower oil content, higher free fatty acids in the oil and more animal excrement in the harvested sample, which could pose significant challenges from a feed safety perspective. Because the degree of yield or quality degradation is difficult to predict and likely depends on conditions, oilseed processors will assess the physical and intrinsic quality attributes and make a decision as to whether to accept spring-threshed canola at that time.
Quality and yield loss can also occur throughout the fall if crops have cured and harvest is delayed due to moisture. We encourage producers to harvest their canola this fall if at all possible and remind them to monitor and manage bins containing crops that have been harvested with elevated grain moisture.

Snow on canola swaths in Saskatchewan. October 5, 2016. Credit: Ian Epp

Snow on canola swaths in Saskatchewan. October 5, 2016. Credit: Ian Epp

To learn more about how snow delays or overwintering can affect canola quality, the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) encourages growers to send in samples from canola harvested late in 2016 and canola harvested next spring. Growers interested in getting information on the quality of their canola crop can contact Dr. Veronique Barthet at or Twylla McKendry at to receive a harvest survey envelope and a consent card.

Canola Watch