Record canola acres are forecast to produce a record Canadian canola crop, edging closer to 20 million tonnes. Global demand for canola seed, oil and meal is taking all Canada can produce.

Canola market snapshot 2017

For more on key export markets for Canadian canola, go to

Statistics Canada, in its September 19 report, forecast 2017 Canadian canola production at 19.7 million tonnes. This is the highest on record, driven by record acres of 22.8 million. Yield estimates, which are based on mid-summer surveys, are lower, at 38.1 bu./ac. for the Canadian average. This compares to 43.1 in 2016 and 39.4 in 2015.

Will this production number rise to crack 20 million tonnes for the first time? It could when harvest concludes and StatCan has a more accurate reference point. In its September 2016 report, StatCan estimated the 2016-17 canola crop at 18.3 million tonnes (as reported in the November 2016 Canola Digest). That was later revised to 19.6 million as harvest numbers trickled in. StatCan will release a revised crop production estimate on December 6, 2017.

Table 1. Canadian canola acres, production, exports and domestic processing. Source: Statistics Canada. *Based on September reports.
2012-20132013-20142014-20152015-20162016-20172017-18 (est’d)*
Harvested area (million acres)21.720.220.620.620.022.8*
Production (million tonnes)13.918.616.418.419.619.7*
Seed exports (million tonnes)*
Domestic processing
(million tonnes of seed crushed)*

Seed exports reach 11 million tonnes in 2016-17

Canadian canola seed exports were 11 million tonnes for 2016-17. China is the top market for Canadian canola seed, buying just under 4.0 million tonnes in 2016-17. Japan is second at 2.2 million tonnes.


Table 2. Global production and exports of major oilseed crops. Source: USDA
(September forecast)

Seed production (million tonnes)

palm kernel15.9316.5615.9616.8118.04

Seed exports (million tonnes)

palm kernel0.

Oil and meal

A strong domestic processing industry, with 14 facilities across Canada that will process canola, means Canada also has a large amount of oil and meal available for sale. In 2016-17, Canada exported 3.1 million tonnes of canola oil and 4.7 million tonnes of canola meal.

The U.S. is the biggest market for Canadian canola oil and meal. In 2016-17, it bought 62 per cent of Canadian canola oil exports and
77 of meal exports.

China was second in both categories, with a significant rise in meal purchases. The U.S. purchased 95 per cent of Canadian canola meal exports in 2014-15 and 89 per cent in 2015-16. That fell to 77 per cent in 2016-17, with China increasing its share to 19 per cent. (All of these numbers are shown in the pie graphs.)

Global oilseed market continues to expand

Soybean production in Canada will also achieve a record in 2017-18. StatCan, in its September estimate, put soybean production at 8.3 million tonnes, up 28.5 per cent from 2016. The rise in soybean and canola acres in Canada is part of a global trend toward more vegetable oil production and consumption.

USDA, in its September 2017 estimate, put global production for all major oilseeds at 578.6 million tonnes for 2017-18, up slightly from the year before and up 48 per cent from the 391.5 million tonnes produced a decade ago. This does not include palm, which provides a lot of oil to the market but is not technically an oilseed. Palm oil production increased 62 per cent over the past decade.

For comparison, the USDA September estimate has global wheat production at 744.8 million tonnes for 2017-18, up 22 per cent over the past decade, and global corn production at 1,032.6 million tonnes, up 30 per cent from a decade ago. In that time, world population rose by around 13 per cent.

Table 3. Global production and exports of vegetable oil. Source: USDA
(September forecast)

Oil production (million tonnes)

palm kernel7.077.316.987.327.81

Oil exports (million tonnes)

palm kernel2.883.233.022.903.06

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