Lower-Quality Crop Prompts Creation Of New Standard Samples

Apoorer-quality western Canadian crop in 2010 has prompted new standard samples, standard prints and guide samples for wheat, peas, pea beans and lentils.

They’re used to assist grain inspections grade grain, Randy Dennis, Canada’s chief grain inspector with the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), said in a recent interview.

“If there’s an opportunity to add a little more frost (damaged wheat) into say a No. 1 Red (Spring wheat) for example then there could be a direct benefit to the producer in that now their grain would qualify for a (No.) 1 instead of a 2,” he said.

However, Dennis stressed the changes are subtle and do not affect the consistency or the quality of the wheat for which Canada is famous.

While in Japan last fall, Dennis said he stressed to buyers if they had purchased No. 1 or 2 Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat grown in 2009 they will get the same quality when buying No. 1 or 2 harvested in 2010.

“There may not be the same volume, but the quality itself isn’t going to change,” he said.

The new standard samples were approved by the Western Standards Committee, which represents farmers, grain companies, processors, the CGC and Canadian Wheat Board, when it met in November.

Based on harvest survey samples received by the CGC about 44 and 16 per cent of the 2010 CWRS and Canada Western Amber durum wheat crops, respectively, are in the top two grades due to poor growing conditions, Dennis said.

Typically two-thirds of the CWRS crop grades either No. 1 or 2. Last crop year (2009- 10) 91 per cent was in the top two grades, Dennis said.

In 2008-09, 2007-08 and 2006-07, 77, 81 and 90 per cent of the wheat graded No. 1 or 2.

Excess moisture during the growing season and at harvest as well as an early frost, affected much of the West. It’s not surprising then that most of the downgrading in wheat is due to frost and mildew.

Fusarium damage and ergot are also degrading factors in CWRS wheat in 2010, the CGC says on its website.

Mildew, light test weight and wild oats are the degrading factors in barley and oats.

Despite the poor conditions more than 80 per cent of the canola and flax are grading No. 1.

The chlorophyll content in canola is lower than in 2009 but levels have been creeping higher in more recently received samples.

Canola oil content is higher than in 2009 but the protein content is lower.

The main degrading factors in peas are immaturity and mould damage.

In lentils it’s bleached and stained, frost damage and mould damage.

Mould, weathering and staining are the main issues in beans.

The WSC’s standard samples are distributed to the CGC’s inspectors, as well as to grain companies to be used as a vision comparison to assist in grading, Dennis said.

Grain companies will use the official standard sample to make their own samples with grain they’ve gathered and then distribute them to staff.

“When an inspector has the sample he uses that to compare the quality – the frost damage, the mildew or whatever – against the sample he has,” Dennis said. “What that standard sample does is reflects what we consider the degree of soundness.

“This year there could be more frost damage in the sample or a little more mildew, but that’s OK so long as we don’t change that end use.”

The CGC also stores standard samples from the past in its cold room, which are used to compare with new standard samples to ensure that not too much damaged grain is being added.

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About the author


Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.



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