NEWSLETTER 1, October 2018

The executive board of the GCIRC jointly with the GCIRC committees chairs decided to publish a regular newsletter to share information and develop exchanges within the rapeseed / Canola community : here is the first issue.

Today, oilseed rape/canola is one of the major sources worldwide of edible oil and protein feed for animals. It is currently the no. 2 of major oilseed crops behind soybean. Key regions of production include Canada, China, Europe and Australia. The total acreage amounts to nearly 35 million hectares where more than 70 million tons of seed are produced every year. It has not always been like that; rapeseed was a minor crop only half-a-century ago.
There is no doubt that the enormous extension of rapeseed cultivation during the last 50 years would not have happened without the intense research on rapeseed quality leading to canola (00) cultivars. This was accompanied by the foundation of the Groupe Consultatif International de Recherche sur le Colza (GCIRC) in Paris. This International Consultative Group of Research on Rapeseed, an association of people interested in technical advance made in the production and processing of oilseed rape (OSR) was initially founded by a small group of experts aiming at the promotion of OSR/canola cultivation and use.
In order to achieve this goal, major improvements of seed quality had to be accomplished: i) the reduction of undesired erucic acid in the seed oil and ii) the reduction of glucosinolates in the rapeseed meal. These two quality steps were initiated in the 1970ies and first selected by Canadian and Polish scientists in germplasm from Germany and Poland. This material immediately became available for worldwide breeding and use without any restrictions.
The significant extension of OSR/canola cultivation has recently been accompanied by the appearance of damaging pathogens and pests endangering rapeseed cultivation in all major cultivation areas. At the same time environmental stresses tend to progressively compromise rapeseed production. Consequently, the improvement of resistance against biotic and abiotic stresses is one of the major
2 provocations for OSR breeding and cultivation. Other challenges include the further enhancement of oil quality as a health-promoting edible oil, and the amendment of protein content and composition for better feed and food. New genome-based breeding techniques will enable a more efficient development of elite material and improved (hybrid) varieties.

The coming 15th International Rapeseed Congress 2019 in Berlin will provide an excellent opportunity to communicate and discuss recent achievements in these and other fields and identify suitable future directions and improvements of OSR/canola as a whole. GCIRC, the International Consultative Group of Research on Rapeseed, is directing and coordinating rapeseed congresses held every four years as well as interim technical meetings. In order to further promote OSR/canola for future demands in agriculture and industry, GCIRC will take necessary steps to extend and intensify research on the sustainable and economic cultivation and the profitable use of OSR/canola. For this purpose, the presence of GCIRC in the scientific as well as commercial community needs to be strengthened. Experts from all relevant fields will be invited to become members of GCIRC. One of the tools for distributing recent information to the community will be a newsletter which is going to be regularly distributed.

We are happy to present you this Newsletter now starting with No. 1.

Wolfgang Friedt

GCIRC President

NEWSLETTER October 2018