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Same sample, different grades for green seed soybeans

Farmers might want to shop around or get an official CGC grade

Green soybean seed is downgrading some crops this fall.

Farmers with green seeds in their soybeans should consider shopping their crop around to get the best grade, or get an official grade from the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC).

The percentage of green seed in soybean the same samples sometimes vary widely between buyers, an industry official said Sept. 13.

In one case three different buyers graded the same sample at eight, three and one per cent green seed content, the official said.

Three per cent green seed or less is needed to get a No. 2.

Sometimes immature, puffy, soft green seeds show up when farmers are harvesting soybeans. They usually disappear in storage, Manitoba Agriculture pulse specialist Dennis Lange said in a recent interview. However, this year some mature, dry soybeans are green on the outside and inside.

Lange’s advice is to delay harvesting in hopes some of the green seeds turn colour. Recent rains might help in the process.

He also suggests taking samples to buyers to get a grade.

Lange said he suspects, based on Ontario soybean producers’ past experience, dry, hot weather during the growing season locked chlorophyll into some seeds.

“Under normal conditions, as the plant matures, an enzyme called chlorophyllase degrades the chlorophyll in the bean to result in a normal soybean colour,” Horst Bohner, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food’s soybean specialist wrote in a 2003 information paper. “Extremely dry, hot weather during the latter stages of seed maturation this summer (2003) influenced this activity. It’s believed that bean drying and maturation occurred so quickly that the enzyme activity stopped before all of the chlorophyll could be metabolized.

“There are two types of dry green soybeans. The first category involves a green tinge on the outside of the bean, while the inside remains yellow. These beans are generally classified by the grain commission as ‘not of good natural colour.’ They are designated as grade (No.) 2 and are not discounted. In the second category however, a green discolouration can be found right through the entire soybean. The grain commission grades these green beans as ‘damaged kernels.’

“The reason green soybeans are discounted by the crusher is that the chlorophyll has a direct effect on oil quality and content. The extra bleaching along with other procedures required during processing to remove the chlorophyll increases processing costs and reduces oil yield.”

Soybeans are covered under the Canada Grain Act and therefore farmers can request an official CGC grade, referred to as ‘subject to inspector’s grade and dockage,’ but only when delivering to a CGC licensed primary elevator.

The grade determined by the CGC can be appealed to the CGC’s chief grain inspector whose grade is binding on both the farmer and the buyer, the CGC website says.

Farmers, or those delivering grain on behalf of a farmer, have the right to request an official and binding assessment of the grain quality, dockage and/or protein content. A representative 1,000-gram sample agreed upon by the farmer, or the person delivering for the farmer and the elevator operator, is sent to the CCG in a container that will maintain the integrity of the sample.

The CGC charges $45.78 for the service. The grain company pays the fee if it offered a grade lower than the CGC’s grade. If it’s the other way around the farmer pays.

Visit the CGC website for more information.

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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