Rapeseed and everything you need to know about it
This plant is a natural hybrid, containing chromosome sets of bittercress and cabbage. Rapeseed has only two types, i.e. winter and spring varieties. The plant roots penetrate into the soil for 2-3 meters. The roots branch out horizontally at 40 cm depth.
Usage in National Economy
Farmers and agricultural producers have different purposes for growing this crop. Rapeseed is widely used in various branches of the national economy. It's used for production of technical oils and biofuels, detergents and cosmetics, edible vegetable oils. Rapeseed tops are used as green feeds for animals that are not inferior to analogues in their nutrition.
Fall-seeded rapeseed is unrivaled as a forage crop. The protein content after processing is as high as alfalfa's, and the greens of rapeseed appear earlier than other crops greens. It is recommended for sowing in regions with a soft, warm climate, since it has a low winter survival. In recent years modern rapeseed varieties and hybrids of both Russian and foreign origin are actively entering the Russian market.
Spring rapeseed has another name "colza rape". It is sown in early spring and harvested at the end of July. Seedlings and young plants of all types of this crop give a very good response to the fertilizer application. Organic and compound fertilizers can be applied to the crop.
Canada and the PRC are leading in growing rapeseed. They produce oil from its seeds. Diesel fuel of excellent quality can be produced by adding caustic soda and methyl alcohol to the rapeseed solution.
There are some restrictions in usage of rapeseed as a food product. Most attempts to produce rapeseed vegetable oil have not been successful. The result was a greenish liquid with an unpleasant odor and bitterness. These qualities are associated with the high content of chlorophyll, glycosinolates and erucic acid.
All these mentioned ingredients negatively affect the functioning of the cardiovascular system. However, a Canadian trading company managed to produce an edible rapeseed oilseed variety with a minimum content of harmful substances (up to 2%). This oil is called canola oil, and it is produced under the brand Canadian Oil. Nowadays, there are more than 14% of rapeseed vegetable oils in the world market, and it is customer's choice whether to consume them or not.