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chinese demand fuels canola exports

Canola production rose by almost 30 per cent even as the amount of land seeded fell by 9 per cent, Statscan said in a report on Wednesday.

Exports of Canadian grains rose by 50 per cent in October, led by a 62-per-cent jump in sales of canola seed to China, Statistics Canada says.

Canola has become Canada's second-biggest grain export next to wheat and the most valuable by dollar value, according to Statscan. The seed is crushed to make cooking oil that has a reputation for being low in saturated fats. Cooks like it for its neutral taste that does not carry into the food. The seed residue or meal that is left after crushing is increasingly being fed to dairy cattle or fish.

"China is understanding the virtues of canola oil," said Bruce Jowett of the Canola Council of Canada.

In 2012, canola seed exports reached $4.6-billion, while canola oil exports were $3.3-billion, the Canola Council said.

Canola prices have fallen by about 14 per cent this year as production rose by 30 per cent to a record 18 million tonnes, even as the amount of land harvested fell by 9 per cent, Statscan said in a separate report this week. The rising yields are due to good weather and better planting methods.

Modern canola was developed from rapeseed by scientists in Manitoba and Saskatchewan in the 1970s. Rapeseed was planted in Canada during the Second World War to make machine lubricants.