Canola: the salvation of winter crops

Because of the frustration of winter cereals resulting from weather conditions, canola emerges as the salvation of crops in the south of Brazil. Although canola area has been 17.6% smaller with relation to last year, the production shall be up to 23% higher, exceeding 80 thousand ton. The price equivalent to soybean is a reason for the producers’ satisfaction who believed in the crop.

The area of canola that was sowed in 2012 was 48.704 hectares (ha), it shows a reduction of 17.6% with relation to last year. In Rio Grande do Sul, the reduction reached 14% caused by prolonged drought in the summer which prolonged the lack of humidity until the canola sowing period in April. Another factor was the low light in harvest 2011, which rain level was over the average during the development of canola that favored the incidence of bacteriose in many crops. However, the impact of the reduction of the area was compensated by the increase of the average yield of canola, passing from 1.200 kg/ha in 2011 to 1.800 kg/ha in 2012, reaching 2.400 kg/ha in many crops.

According to the researcher of Embrapa Trigo, Gilberto Tomm, the researches and experience accumulated in Brazil contributed to increase the yield from 906 kg/ha (15 sacks) in 1980s, to the current 1.800 kg/ha (30 sacks). "There are great opportunities to expand canola, in the south as well as in the Midwest of Brazil, as alternative of winter/crop in the same areas where we produce soybean and maize in the summer. This may be done by using the same lands, machinery, warehouses, optimizing the means available, increasing production and income, without the need for deforestation or occupying pasture areas", asserts the researcher. Another incentive to produce canola is the growth with rural insurance, allowing that even during difficult situations (destruction by hail or frostings), producers are benefitted by the soil cover in the winter and the waste of fertilizers applied over canola because of the costs reduction, increase of yield and sanity of subsequent growth.

According to the evaluation of the Improvement Coordinator of BSBIOS, Fábio Junior Benin, canola is first considered as "alternative growth" and then as "permanent growth" in productive systems of the South region and Midwest of Brazil. "In the last few years, important factors which have direct link with canola growth, were adjusted, as for instance, the publishing of the agro-climatic zoning in 2008, the consolidation biodiesel producing market, production professionalization together with the professionals training with specific knowledge for canola growth and a consuming market of vegetable oil in expansion", evaluates Benin. He also emphasizes the provision of new hybrids of canola in the market, advances in the process of pesticides record for the crop and the creation of representative entities of the productive sector (ABRASCANOLA): "The canola productive sector is in a phase of maturity and professionalization, where Brazil appears as the leader in the productive vegetable oil crops sector able to meet emergent markets of vegetable oils", he concluded. In the last three years, the producers who adopted this crop has kept canola in the production system, unlike last year, when rotation in growth areas was more frequent, preventing the productive chain from organization.

In order to provide support to production, Project "Canola for Brazil - Research, transference of technology and organizational development for canola expansion in Brazil" is in its final stage of elaboration, where a large multidisciplinary team from several institutions will develop activities with relation to the increase in yield and quality, including expansion of growth for tropical regions of the country.

Price attracts

Aiming at encouraging the growth in canola area in Brazil, the companies of promotion have paid the price linked to soybean for canola, putting it on top of grain quotation this year. Therefore, the prices at the moment of canola harvest and commercialization have risen and are higher than the prices in the future market, when the oil and bran of canola will be sold from grain processing, which is a worrying situation for these companies. In short, canola current prices are excellent for producers, generating high profit even for those who obtained productivity lower than the average in the last few years, from around 1.500 to 1.600 kg/ha, considering that the costs of production have been around 900 kg/ha (15 sacks).

In his property in Vila Maria, RS, producer Tales Rosso reduced the area of canola in half this year, but the yield increased 30%. The commercialization of a sack of 60kg was R$ 68,00, which was directed to the industry of biodiesel. The producer’s expectation is towards a new cultivar of canola in the market that allows better control of turnip that depends on mechanical weeding to be eliminated from the crop. "I am satisfied with canola crop. If the scenario continues to be favorable, with good perspectives about the weather and price, we must increase the area in 2013", asserts Rosso.

Besides the price, canola liquidity is another attraction. All canola produced in Brazil and great part of this production from the 70 thousand hectares grown in Paraguay and industrialized in Brazil is directed to human food. Thus, Brazilians are consuming healthier oil and directed soybean oil to biodiesel production. The advantages of canola to biodiesel industry is in the content of oil, while in canola grains the index is 40%, in soybean grains the content of oil is 18%. According to the Brazilian Association of Canola Producers (ABRASCANOLA), there is a huge demand for canola oil in the national and international market. To meet a demand from Europe recently, it would be necessary an area of 200 times larger than the area grown in Brazil currently. "The companies, cooperatives and the government are working to increase the canola production so that the quantity of oil available in Brazil ensures its use in biodiesel production. This would allow its export to countries in Europe where biodiesel produced with soybean oil and tallow does not meet the specifications", asserts the chief executive officer of BSBIOS, Erasmo Carlos Battistella.

 Source: Embrapa Trigo - Joseani M. Antunes