Canola. When most Canadians think of canola, they’ll probably think of the beautiful yellow fields or the golden-hued oil on the shelves at the grocery stores. But what’s really incredible about canola is just how little of it that goes to waste.
Each year nearly 20 million tonnes of canola is produced by Canadian farmers1, yielding millions of tiny, round black canola seeds. Did you know that 45% of the canola seed is made up of oil?2 After harvesting, crushing, and extracting the oil, the remaining canola is processed into a palatable, high-protein, plant-based feed for livestock, poultry, fish, and pet food, called canola meal. Canada produces about 5.5 million tonnes of canola meal yearly.
Livestock is an important aspect of Canada’s agriculture industry and canola meal plays a large part in it. Canola meal has high protein content and an ideal amino acid profile, making it an excellent ingredient to add into the diet of beef and dairy cattle. Canola meal boosts milk production in dairy cows3 by 1 litre per cow per day compared to other protein sources such as soybean meal.
And for those cheese-lovers, milk from dairy cows eating a canola-meal enhanced diet has a higher protein content, which is an important advantage in making cheese. So, canola meal has delicious advantages for humans and cows alike!
It helps the environment!
It’s no secret that cows eat a lot. And when they eat and digest their food, they naturally burp up methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG). These GHGs in turn contribute between one-third and one-half of all GHG emissions produced on a dairy cattle farm.
However, supplementing with canola meal can help reduce these greenhouse gas emissions! As a readily digested and highly palatable ingredient in a cow’s diet, the amino acid profile of canola meal helps cows use protein more efficiently and therefore, produce less methane.
Now imagine how much cleaner our environment would be if canola meal was added into the diet of every dairy cow in Canada?
The sky’s the limit
Cows must be sharing the good news about canola meal with their farm families because canola meal also makes an excellent protein source for pigs, poultry, and fish.
You may also be surprised to learn that canola meal is used in leading pet foods, helping to provide essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids to both dogs and cats.
Last but not least, Canadian companies are currently in the midst of exploring opportunities to use canola meal as a plant-based protein source for human diets. If you’re interested in learning more, take a peek at proteinindustriescanada.ca.
- Canola Council of Canada. Industry Overview. www.canolacouncil.org
- Canola Council of Canada. About Canola. www.canolacouncil.org
- Canola Council of Canada. New Research Demonstrates Increased Milk Production and Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions When Dairy Cows are Fed Canola Meal. www.canolacouncil.org
- Canola Council of Canada. Dairy Cow Diet Hack Helps Environment. www.canolacouncil.org