Sustainable Agriculture Student Research Project

Seed and oil yield from canola in Richmond, BC

C. J. Nyereyegona, Department of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, 2022



  • Canola:
    • Low erucic acid (Brassica napus, B. rapa or B. juncea)
    • Cultivated for oil-rich seed and protein meal
    • World’s third-largest source of vegetable oil
    • World’s second-largest source of protein meal
    • Bred in Canada, which is world's largest canola producer


  • Trial organic canola production in Richmond, BC
  • Compare early, mid, and late-season planting effects on canola seed and oil yield


  • Study conducted at the KPU Farm on the Garden City Lands in Richmond, BC
  • Randomized complete block design with four replicates and three planting dates:
    • Early season (April 20, 2021)
    • Mid season (May 4, 2021)
    • Late season (May 18, 2021)
  • 3 x 3 m (9 m2) plots
  • Organic canola (Stonehenge Organics, SK) direct-seeded at 790 seeds/plot (88 seeds/m2)
  • Drip irrigation and weekly weed management until canopy closure
  • Row cover applied after seed set to protect from birds (Fig. 1)
  • 1 m2 area in center of each plot hand-harvested with sickle at maturity (Fig. 1)
  • Seed threshed, winnowed, and weighed (Fig. 1)
  • Oil extracted with auto expeller-extractor (Fig. 1)

Canola production and processing

Figure 1. Small-scale canola seed and oil production methods and tools used in this study.



  • Seed and oil weight were strongly correlated (R2 = 0.93) (Figure 2)
  • 39% of the seed weight was extracted as oil
  • No significant effect of planting date was detected on seed or oil yield (Figure 3)

Relationship between canola seed and oil yield

Figure 2. Relationship between canola seed and oil yield.

Canola oil and seed weight by planting date

Figure 3. Seed weight (left) and oil weight (right) by planting date. All figures in g/m2. Error bars denote standard error of the mean.


  • Excellent summer canola yield in Richmond over an extended range of planting times.
    • Average seed yield for study = 310 g/m2 = 3.1 t/ha, compared to Canadian average of 1.4 t/ha (Canola Council of Canada, 2022)
    • No significant effect of planting date


  • Seed for this study was donated by Stonehenge Organics.
  • Oil extractor was donated by Nature's Path.
  • Mike Bomford and Rebecca Harbut provided guidance on study design and analysis.
  • Andy Smith, Taku Someya, the KPU Farm crew, and other KPU students assisted with plot management, harvest, and oil extraction.
  • The City of Richmond owns the Garden City Lands, and allows the KPU Farm to operate on the site.
  • We farm in unceded Musqueam territory.