Global Agriculture

Bayer accelerates canola innovation with new site in Cranbrook, B.C.

12 October 2022, Calgary, AB: This fall, Bayer officially opened its new Canola Seed Production Site in Cranbrook, B.C. The site manages all of Bayer’s canola pre-foundation, foundation, and experimental plot seed operations for Canada and Chile.

“We invested in this site because we believe Bayer must provide farmers with innovative, industry-leading canola technology and products, with the highest quality seeds to maximize growers’ yields and returns in a sustainable way,” says Al Driver, Country Division Head, Crop Science Canada. “With 22 million acres in Canada, canola has established itself as the largest crop in the Canadian prairies, and we need to keep up to the demand. It’s a critical crop in the global commodity markets, and one of the most versatile, healthy, low-in-saturated-fat cooking oils. Canola meal is also a staple in the animal feed industry, and there’s an emerging use processing canola oil into low-carbon biofuels.”

Bayer and its predecessors first started producing canola seed in the Kootenay Region of B.C. in 1996. The unique local geography, climate, and remote field locations allow Bayer to isolate and produce only the highest quality canola seeds.

“This was an important step to ensure Bayer can continue to supply top-quality canola seed to farmers through its own DEKALB canola brand as well as other licensees/seed partners,” explains Joerg Lehmann, Cranbrook Site Lead. “We are proud of the fact that virtually all canola parent seed grown for Bayer and its seed partners originates from this production site.”

Connecting with community

An integral component of the new facility includes outreach activities for the local community. Known as the “Pizza Farm,” the Bayer Cranbrook site has historically worked with local schools and community groups to educate children about agriculture. The new Bayer location contains a large garden area to showcase how vegetables are grown, and will allow local schools and community groups to visit and interact with the garden. All food that is produced will be donated to the local Cranbrook Food Bank.

Growing sustainably

Bayer’s field sites in the Kootenays use drip irrigation systems that save water and greatly increase irrigation efficiency. Drip irrigation tape gets recycled at season’s end. Cover crops are used to improve soil health, reduce erosion, and increase organic matter and soil fertility. The Bayer team uses integrated pest management methods, and considers all options for the control of weeds, insects and diseases. The new site also includes a comprehensive recycling program for a variety of different materials.

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