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Changes To Canola Registration System Proposed

“I think companies will only take this path (interim registration) if they know for sure they’re going to pass in the second year.”

– JOANNE BUTH

The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) says its proposal to change the canola registration system will get improved varieties to farmers faster while still safeguarding them and processors from inferior varieties.

Currently, before a new canola can be recommended for registration two years of testing data are required – one year of data from private company trials and one year of data from the public co-op trials. The CCC wants canola developers to be able to seek an interim registration, which would last three years, after one year of private data has been collected, council president JoAnne Buth said in an interview last week.

However, if an interim registration is granted, the developer would be required to provide a second year of data from the co-op trials. If the second year of data shows the variety to be flawed the variety would be withdrawn from the market and unused seed collected in the third year of the interim registration.

“I think companies will only take this path if they know for sure they’re going to pass in the second year,” Buth said. “Some might be borderline so it’s pretty expensive to take a route like that. If they are very, very confident there won’t be any issues; they will go forward with it.”

CONFIDENT

The CCC, which represents all the participants in Canada’s canola industry from farmers and canola develop companies to grain companies and processors, formed a working group to study the merits of changing the registration system. Representatives from the provincial grower groups, including the Mani toba Canola Growers Association, endorsed the proposal, as did the CCC’s board of directors unanimously.

Now the CCC will explain its plan to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which oversees the registration system. It will also be discussed when the Western Canada Canola/ Rapeseed Recommending

Committee (WCC/RRC) meets in Saskatoon Dec. 9. If the recommending committee endorses the change it could be in place when the committee meets in February to recommend which new canolas should be registered.

The proposed change was prompted, in part, by the option to set aside the rules and grant an interim registration where a new variety can assist in tackling a difficult problem, said Neil Arbuckle, Monsanto’s western marketing lead for seed and traits and CCC director. Such was the case earlier this year when Pioneer Hi-Bred’s new clubroot-tolerant canola, 45H29, received an interim registration.

SET-ASIDE RULES

“That system seems to work,” Arbuckle said. “If we could provide that as an option to developers to move products forward then maybe we should move to make that a change.”

When a new variety is first released, seed supplies are usually limited, so recalling it if a problem is discovered during the second year of trials shouldn’t be too onerous, Arbuckle said.

The majority of the canola is hybrid. Therefore there is almost no farm-saved canola.

For all those reasons farmers and processors will still be protected, he added.

“Quite frankly I think that’s why they (CCC directors) all supported it because they looked at it and said ‘on balance this will allow us to have access to innovations quicker,’” Arbuckle said. “In the absence of an emergency it’s extremely difficult to get a set-aside of the (current registration) rules.”

The registration system for canola has already seen a major change recently with the dropping of meeting disease and agronomic standards as a prerequisite. Now the only requirement is that a new canola meets standards set for oil and meal quality. High yields and disease resistance are table stakes for canola developers because that’s what they compete on, said Buth. Where a new variety is sometimes weak is on quality and that’s why it’s still regulated through the registration process, she added. [email protected]

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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