In just a few decades, canola has become one of the world's most important oilseed crops and the most profitable commodity for Canadian farmers.
The plant belongs to the Brassica genus, the botanical family that includes cauliflower and cabbages.
The name canola is a contraction of Canada and ola, meaning oil. To earn the name canola, products must meet an internationally regulated standard.
The world's healthiest vegetable oil is extracted from the seeds of the canola plant. The seeds are 44% oil - more than double the oil content of soybeans. In addition to its heart-healthy properties, canola oil is renowned for its fine culinary qualities.
High-protein meal is produced from the other 56% of the canola seed. Canola meal is an excellent animal feed for cattle, poultry, swine and fish. When fed to dairy cows, it can increase milk production by one litre per day. Researchers have also developed a protein isolate that could one day be used for human nutrition.
Biofuel feedstock is one of the newer uses for canola. It's the feedstock of choice for Canadian-produced biodiesel because of its exceptional cold weather performance. Compared to fossil diesel, canola biodiesel reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 90%.
A triumph of innovation. Canola is the world's only "Made in Canada" crop. It was developed by researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the University of Manitoba in the 1970s, using traditional plant breeding techniques.
Source: Canola Council of Canada - http://www.canolacouncil.org/oil-and-meal/what-is-canola/